shooting the almost perfect actor’s headshot

final headshot of a black actor with retouchingI hadn’t done any consultation in a long while. so when I received an email from charles requesting one before doing headshots, I was somewhat surprised. my experience offering consultation wasn’t very great. I told the guy that if he was an actor there wasn’t really any need for him to schedule a consultation. he finally decided to book a shoot.

it was on a wednesday, and he wanted to do the shoot the same day I had scheduled a shoot with another client who also wanted actor’s headshots. late evenings shoots are not my favorite and that day the weather was a very bad day. there was winter advisory and a lot of snow was expected. considering I had to brave the elements and go to the studio for one shoot, I decided I might as well book two clients.

the first shoot went quite well. the guy was told that he looked great and could be a model or an actor. so he wasn’t sure whether he was gonna take acting headshots or modeling pictures. as soon as I was finished, I got a call from charles that we was downstairs. I went to pick him up and since I had a shoot earlier, there was very little setup. he had quite a few scars on his face and he was concerned they would show on the pictures ruining his chances of getting acting gigs.


headshot of a black actor with basic touchupI thought if you were an actor, you would be happy if your headshots looked like you. people are so over conscious about how they look that they’re ready to cheat. I first thought that in spite of his fears, he could be a good actor.

when I shoot headshots for guys, I adjust my lighting to produce high contrast and reveal more character on their faces. from the start he displayed great comfort in front of the camera and was changing his mood and poses as we went along. you could easily see that he had good acting skills. the purpose of a headshot is to show that you were the right person for a role you’re auditioning for.

a couple of days later after he made his selection, he was sent 12 pictures touched up in photoshop with all the skin blemishes gone. I don’t know how a director would react if he liked the guy and met him to find all of those scars. I thought that they would be an asset rather because if you were auditioning for a tough guy, you would have something to support it.