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In my years managing models and talent, I have seen promising careers compromised by pictures that did not look professional, or worse; that misrepresented their actual look. The talent or model looked great in person and did not look the same on their headshot. Long are gone the days when actors mass produced headshots. The days of the glossy black and white actors headshots are over.
Most Talent agencies do not accept unsolicited mail and there is no walk ins in most agencies. At the time I'm writing this, the world has been rocked by a pandemic and all industries must do their business online to follow social distancing measures put in place in their cities.
Here are 5 tips anyone new or not can use right away to get their headshot themselves and submit to agencies online which is now more the norm than the exception.
1) Give your smart phone to your 7 years old kid in your house, or ask your neighbor's kid to help for a few bucks.
Let them take your picture. Trust this, you are in good hands. Have them stand on a stable chair, a sofa. Or let them sit on the edge of a table. The idea here is to have them facing you even if this means for them to have to point the phone higher as if they were at a concert. You don't want them to take the picture from bellow your chin. Make sure the person who takes your snapshots understand what you want the pictures for. Trough my experience, kids will keep it simple and that's what you want.
2) Avoid indoors pictures, or any photo with distracting background. Keep it simple. Use natural light to your advantage. Face the sun. The best time to take good portrait is early in the morning or late in the afternoon. That's when the sun can be on your face not on the top of your head. If you don't want to the the pictures outside, you can use lights on each side of the face not right in front and not coming from the back or above you.
3) For women. Have a clean face. Wear little or no make up. Wear a fitting tank top for models. Fitting solid color shirt for talent. If you have long hair, keep them off your face so that they are not distracting from your features. You can have your hair in a bun, or a pony tail.
4) If you are taking pictures of kids, to submit them to an agency. You can take a full body picture. Make sure that they are facing you. for all pictures including your own, use clothes with solid colors, like jeans and khaki. Absolutely no logo; no stripes and no green colors.
5) Here is the most important tip of all. Agency scouts receive dozens to hundred of submissions everyday on a quiet day. Be mindful that a lot of projects in the digital age have a fast turnaround. You may be tempted to photoshop the picture with one of your phone app; or using a photo editor on your desktop. DON'T!
The photo is for you or the kid you want to place in an agency to be seen. This is not a photo that will end up on a billboard on your highway.
The goal is to make it as easy as possible for the person receiving your photo to make a decision on your physical potential. If it is photoshopped or if you are wearing too much make up and add ons, such as lashes, wigs or hair extension. you will not get a good response if any; when submitting to a legitimate agency.
You want them to follow up with a request of a Skype or FaceTime interview. with you.
BONUS: Beware of agencies that will tell you "We can't use this pictures but we are offering a photoshoot and a package that include you to be placed on our website for XYZ amount. RUN AWAY! That's a scam.
You can use a photographer as long as they are not trying to take artistic photos. Again that's not the point here. So no need to give money to photographers for photos we won't use or images that don't help us make a decision
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Sending a lot of love and wishing you a lot of success.