WRITTEN BY AMELIA BRANTLEY
It’s 6am and guess what I’m doing today? Yup, that’s right. I’m getting my headshots done! This article isn’t just me speaking from my past #actorslife experiences, I’m going to do some firsthand reporting. So these next tips are based on my actual day.
6:00AM- I wake up early.
My session is scheduled for 9am so I woke up at 6am. I wanted to write a little first. On the mornings of my headshots sessions, I do everything to ensure that I won’t be late to my session. I don’t want to be scrambling around my apartment pulling clothes out of my closet, rushing a suitcase to my car, realizing I don’t have enough gas, and then realizing I forgot something after pulling out of the driveway. People who rush before their headshot session show up sweaty, disheveled, and the energy immediately starts off on a weird note.
7:00AM- I eat a good breakfast.
I’m really not trying to sound like your mom right now, but please eat before you get to the studio. You need energy for the shoot. A lot of it! And the only way to get that much energy is to eat a well-balanced meal. This morning, I made a gluten-free, veggie breakfast wrap and I’m putting a Macro bar in my purse for after the shoot. One thing actors do all the time that drives makeup artists crazy is when they eat during the session. I’ve seen actors eat in the makeup chair while our MUA’s struggle to put their foundation and lipstick on in between bites and face wiping. Don’t be that actor.
8:20AM- I’ve showered, triple checked my suitcase, and checked traffic.
SHOWER/HAIR: We get asked this question all the time. “What should my hair be like when I get to the studio?” That all depends on what you want the MUA to do to your hair. If you want the MUA to do everything (straighten/curl and style for each look), then arrive with your hair clean, dry, down, and product-free. If you want the MUA to do light styling and just check for flyaways, come with your hair done the way you like it. In the past, I’ve gotten blowouts for my headshots because it made sense for the looks I was shooting, but today is not one of those days, so clean, dry, and down it is for me!
SUITCASE: I’ve triple-checked that I have everything I need for my shoot: three shirt options for each look, two layer options for each look, two necklaces, a zip-up hoodie in case I get cold in the makeup chair, and three different bras. Ladies: bring multiple bras! It’s the number one thing we forget and it’s also the one thing that can either ruin a look or cost you a lot in retouching later on, so make sure you have options! I’m also bringing my own curling iron. I’m 99% sure that my MUA will have the right one for my hair, but just in case, I’m going to bring mine. The last thing I’m doing is putting on those under-eye, cooling, jelly pad thingies on. (It’s a brand I’ve used before, so I know I won’t have a last minute skin reaction.)
5:00PM- I’m finally home.
No, my headshots did not take eight hours. I just got home because after my shoot, I had to work at the studio. But my session went great! I realize that I’m at a slight advantage every time I shoot with Joanna because not only has she taken a billion photos of me at this point, but we also spend a lot of time together, so she knows me really well and knows how to pull the very best out of me. But here are my tips on things to do while at the studio.
COMMUNICATE: When you get to the studio and settle in, make sure to clearly communicate to your photographer what kind of looks you’re going for so they can understand how to best capture them. Perhaps show them examples of what you like from their portfolio or what did/didn’t work with your previous headshots. Also, speak with your MUA about what you want for your hair & makeup. If at any point you’re not pleased with something your photographer or MUA is doing, speak up! These headshots are for YOU and you’re paying good money for them, so don’t be shy.
TAKE NOTES: I highly suggest taking notes about the products and techniques your MUA is using. You may want to replicate your headshot look so knowing which products to buy and how to use them is incredibly useful.
THE SECRET: I had the best headshot session today and I think I know why. Not only was my music playing and I felt completely comfortable with my surroundings, but I had something going on upstairs! It’s not just about the ‘smize’, Tyra Banks. It’s about the emotion and the creativity behind the end result and that’s not something you can manufacture. A great headshot requires your absolute presence, openness, and vulnerability. A camera lens can and will see exactly what you’re giving it. So give it all you got! Sing along to your headshot playlist, recite a monologue out loud or in your head, tell the photographer all about your career goals and dreams, and just let go. Let that lens see you–you as the actor and creative that you’re proud to be, and I promise you’ll love what it captures.