Jonathan's Headshot Blog!news, plugs and advice for actors and regular folk alike.

Leverage Your Reps To Get Better Headshots

There’s no way around it, getting your headshots taken can be a daunting task. But if you have and agent and/or manager you can make that process smoother and more effective while simultaneously getting your reps invested in you as an actor.

Rule #1

While taking these suggestions please always consider rule number one: don’t waste your agent or manager’s time. They are very busy people and while your success is there’s as well it’s important to keep all communications and requests as efficient as possible.

Be Cunning

Unknown-1If you’re really clever you don’t have to ask for much of your representative’s time or energy to get them involved in your marketing. The tips below are designed to help you get your agent or manager subversively invested not just in your headshots, but your entire journey. All of these steps can be done through email but make sure to give them clear distinct choices. In each step, each choice should be one you are happy with as well. The point of all of this isn’t for them to figure things out for you but for them to feel that they have a real stake in you. When they see those headshots later you want them to say to themselves, “damn I did a good job guiding him/her on those headshots, I wish all of my clients were as proactive as he/she is!”

Preparing

Getting prepared for your session is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you have a successful headshot session and something that only a very small percentage of actors bother to do fully. There are myriad of things to account for when preparing however for the sake of this article I will focus only on the things that your agent or manager can also be involved in.

  • Photo by Jonathan VandiveerConfirm with your agent/manager the looks you’re trying to achieve: Your headshots are marketing tools and it’s important for you and your agent to be on the same page about what you are specifically targeting. If you’re not sure about your casting then you need to step back from this and do your homework on that first. When you speak with them about the looks you’re going for they may have something they want to add or adjust, that’s the time where you can ask if they have additional casting ideas for you. After all, they’re in that mindset all day long, but you should always start off with your own ideas first. In a somewhat sneaky way you’re telling them what you think you should be going out for, and that you’re actively pursuing that goal in a professional manner. Remember, we’re working to get them onboard with your decisions.
  • Get your agent/manager’s feedback on your wardrobe:
    • Do not bring in each outfit to them, this is a waste of time and does not adequately show them what the outfits actually look like on you.
    • Shoot wardrobe selfies instead: Near a window or door opening, take an arms length selfie and then crop from chest to head for each wardrobe option you are considering. Taking it at least arms length will reduce distortion and cropping will replicate the headshot format, this is important because clothing looks very different when cropped in this manner – the lines of stitching, patterns, as well as how the fabric falls on you. If you wear something extra ‘drapey’ be sure to clip it back just a bit to give it a smidge of shape.
    • Narrow them down: You don’t want to overwhelm them with choices, only send the contenders. (rule #1) Once you’ve got a collection of everything put them in your favorite photo editor (osx photo, etc) so you can see all of these options side by side. This will make it very clear what works for each look and what doesn’t! Once you’ve narrowed them down email them to your reps for their opinion. Remember one of the most important reasons to do this is to get your agent and manager invested in you. J

Shoot!

The only thing I’m going to say here is that it is very important to find someone who lets you see your images during the shoot. How else are you going to know if you’re nailing it or not?

Post Production – Get their feedback

13thEach agent/manager has their own favorite way to give image feedback – 4x6s, online proofs, physical proofs or digital files. It’s from my experience though that unless they explicitly ask you for every image you should cut it down to only your top choices. (rule #1 again) After all, you wouldn’t want them picking one you didn’t like! A few reps decline to give image reviews, usually ones who have extremely large workloads/client lists, however if you’ve done everything else they’ll be much more likely to want to put their stamp on this step as well regardless.

I hope this helps you get the most out of your upcoming photo session!

Jonathan Vandiveer

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