Headshot Tips

Before The Shoot

NO PARTYING for several days before the shoot and be sure to get a good night's sleep.

Drink lots of water to give your skin a healthy glow.

What should I bring to the shoot?

Bring make-up supplies, brushes and combs as well as hair spay to prevent fly-aways. If you're not using a professional make-up artist make sure to bring some type of powder or base to control oily skin and prevent shining.

Lip gloss for women and chapstick for men to prevent dry lips.

Guys- if you're going to go for the unshaven scruffy look as well as the clean look, please remember to bring your shaving kit.

The most important thing to bring is a good attitude. You're about to embark on a incredible journey that many people only wish they could attempt.

Do I need make-up?

For most men make-up is not necessary but I suggest everyone use some type of powder to bring the shine down on your face. I think it's important that most women use a professional make-up artist. Digital photography is very unforgiving so any blemish is going to show up in the picture. But with PhotoShop any unwanted blemish can be re-touched.

What if I’m not happy with the images?

With my digital camera, you can immediately see how the shoot is going by reviewing that shots using the cameras LCD screen. But, ultimately if you're not happy with the way the images came out I will re-shoot you for no charge.
This policy only applies to package A, B and C.

What should I wear?

Your "type" will dictate the style of clothes you will wear for the shoot.

My suggestion is to watch commercials, tv shows, and movies and look for characters that you could play. The clothes you bring to the shoot should be similar to the way those characters are dressed.

Remember, Hollywood doesn't hire peeople. Hollywood hires characters. 

Avoid plain black or white colors because they may cause lighting trouble.

Is your neck short or long? 

  • A V-neck lengthens the neck
  • a round neckline shortens it.
  • A collar frames the face well, without decreasing the length of your neck.
  • A collared shirt with a V-neck or a few buttons undone always works well.

Subdued, no crazy patterns.
Wear something that makes you feel great and relaxed.
Avoid anything with logos.
Avoid distracting accessories, such as large, shiny jewelry.
If you have a pierced ear, wear studs or small hoops.
No matter how much you love your gold necklace, remember accessories will take the focus away from YOU..

Do I get to keep all my images?

Yes, you will get every image that I shot. All image files are transferred to your flashdrive or uploaded to Dropbox.com.

If we’re going over the shoot and I come across a image that’s out of focus or if your eyes are closed, I’ll delete those images.

Headshot Session Deposit

Putting down a deposit also creates a written record of the time and date for your scheduled appointment and guarantees that time slot is yours.

Can I bring a friend?

Yes, you can bring anyone you want as long as it's not your entire entourage or someone who is going to distract your attention.

When do I get my CD with all the images?

Right after the shoot. I download all the images from the camera to my computer and then transfer them to your flashdrive, which you will leave with on the same day. If you don’t have a flashdrive, I can upload the files to Dropbox.com and send a link to your email or cellphone.

What if I get a pimple or blemish on the day of the shoot?

No worries. Fortunately, PhotoShop can do wonders.

Acting Advice

Look out for Scams!

Scams are something very important to watch out for. Never accept an audition or go for an interview from a phone call when the caller says someone referred you to them. Same goes for being stopped in the mall with someone saying, "Oh, your child has the perfect look for modeling or acting. Please come in for an interview." Don't waste your time. They just want your money. They will tell you all kinds of things any parent or grandparent would love to hear about their child. Anything to hook you and take your money.

Here are the links to help you research and/or report possible SCAMS:

Better Business Bureau http://www.bbb.org

Federal Trade Commission http://www.ftc.gov

Easy Background Check http://www.easybackgroundcheck.com

Safety is an important issue for any age. Due to so many ways of peoples' identities being tampered with or stolen, it is very important to NEVER list your child's social security number, home phone or address (the city is okay) on anything, even if it is requested on a sign-in sheet or a size card that is filled out at some auditions. You can write in "On file" or "Obtain upon hire" or if your child is a union member, write in their union member number. Be sure to always sign out the time you left on the sign-in sheet when leaving an audition. If you are at a union audition for more than one hour, then do include your child's SS# when signing out, as your child will be paid for audition overtime and they will need the SS# for the paperwork.

I know that there is so much information to take in and at first it may seem overwhelming. You are not alone! Working in this industry is a continuous learning process. As you go along, everything will eventually come into place. Just take it one step at a time. Your first step is to research – and look – you've already started! I'm still learning myself, and I've been at it almost all of my life. There are so many resources that are available today that I did not have many years ago, so I'm happy to share what I've learned first hand from experience. This is only the beginning.

Does my child need a work permit?

If your child is hoping to work in CA or NY, they will need an Entertainment Work Permit. The application form needs to be signed by both you, the parent, and your child's school.

For CA, the form can be obtained through the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement office. The application must be mailed in along with a certified copy of your child's birth certificate, a Pediatrician's signature if the child is 1 month or younger and a SASE – self-addressed, stamped return envelope. If it is for a renewal, be sure to include a copy of your child's current permit.

The offices are no longer supplying the permits in person and it is preferred that you mail it in. You may take the application into the office, but it will be mailed back to you (supposed to be a 3 day turn-around). Be sure to follow all the directions on the form very carefully.

Your childs' grades must be a C or better in each class.

This should be taken care of as soon as possible, before your child books their first job.

CA – http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/DLSE-Forms.htm

For NY, I would check the labor laws at http://www.labor.state.ny.us/child/index.htm since the laws in NY have been changing.


The office is listed below.

NY – ACS Administration for Children's Services
Office of Child Performer Permits
150 William Street – Fifth Floor, Room 1
New York, N.Y. 10038


You will also need to open a Coogan Blocked Trust account for your child at one of the major banks or financial institutions that handle them.

Go to http://www.sag.org and click on Young Performers.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the constant changes regarding work permits and Coogan account information, a new and extremely helpful site has been established to help keep you up to date and try to answer all your questions. You can also subscribe to their free Newsletter. I highly recommend this site. www.bizparentz.com. The moms that started this are amazing and they are doing all they can to help make working in this industry a safe, positive and rewarding experience for both parent and working child.

US Passports – Be sure your child and at least one parent or guardian has a US Passport. You don't want your child to suddenly lose out on a job they just booked because the job is being filmed outside the US and your child and whomever is going with them does not have their passports. Things happen quickly in this industry and you/guardian and your child need to be ready to go at a moments notice. US Passport should also be listed at the bottom of your child's resume. Remember, when you apply for your child's passport, both parents must be there in person or if both of you cannot, you are required to have a notarized letter stating approval. http://travel.state.gov


Monologues for kids and toddlers

Start finding and collecting classical and contemporary monologues – toddlers and up to age 4 shouldn't have to worry about this.

For young children it can be short poems or cute children's short stories that they pretty much tell in their own words or even songs they like to sing. As they get a little older they can memorize age appropriate material.

If they sing, have different styles of songs ready with the sheet music in their key. There are several styles of music, but the most common styles for auditions are musical theatre, up-tempo, ballad, pop/rock and gospel.

Remember, you want to show off your child's personality, or the characterization of the role they are auditioning for, with what they sing. An example is you may know the National Anthem, but it's not a wise choice to use unless it is requested. That choice would show your vocal range, but it would not show very much personality.

How to submit your child to an agent or manager

To submit to an agent, send in your child's photo/s with name, age, height, weight hair and eye color and contact number on the back of each photo (one close-up and one 3/4 body shot if possible), a resume and a brief cover letter stating that you are looking for representation for your child in whatever fields you and your child are interested in whether it's Theatrical (Film and TV) (in NY Theatrical includes Film/TV & Stage), Commercial, Print, Stage, Voice-over, etc.

A legitimate agent does not advertise in the paper or approach you in the mall, solicit by mail or on the phone. Those are the "scam" artists to avoid. Legit agents only accept 10% of jobs booked, with nothing in advance. They do not demand you use "their" photographers or take "their" classes or use "their" vendors. Legit agents will recommend places for you to choose from. To be sure an agent is licensed go to www.dir.ca.gov/databases/dlselr/talag.html

What’s my character type?

Trying to determine your "type" is difficult because most people see themselves differently from how others see you. For instance, I see myself as nerdy computer geek, but I've had many instances where people thought I was police officer or a detective.

Try to think like a casting director who's job is to find actors who can play the characters  you see on tv.

Are you the:

  • lawyer
  • secretary
  • diplomat
  • bad boy
  • sex kitten
  • scientist
  • best friend
  • corporate executive
  • blue collar
  • construction worker
  • salesman
  • teacher
  • mid-west
  • slacker
  • trendy
  • mother
  • father
  • disenchanted youth
  • etc…

You can market yourself as any reasonable "type". By which I mean that you could market yourself as a 50-year-old man or an elementary school gir., You could be anything from a sweet girl next door to a tough biker — you're an actor after all. So the question you should ask yourself is: "What roles am I most likely to get based on my personality, my looks and my acting style?" Strangers can sort of answer the first part of this question based on your photos, but the other two questions are more important. Figure out what kind of roles you think you can play, and who you're most likely to be cast as, and then make sure you show that side of yourself when you get your headshots done. 

Why do I need professional headshot?

Every day hundreds of new actors arrive in Los Angeles to pursue their acting careers. No matter how much talent you posses, if you don't get an opportunity to audition your career goes nowhere, which is why a great headshot is so important. It's one of the most important tools that all working actors have in common.
In Los Angeles, you're competing with the best character actors in the world. And, every working actor I know has high quality headshots taken by a professional photographer. The actors I've met who complain about not getting enough auditions usually submit poor quality headshot that they think is "good enough". That's like entering the Daytona 500 with Chevy Cavalier and expecting to win the race.
Professional headshots are an investment in career which can payback a significant return on your investment. Your pay for working one day on a national commercial as a principal actor can be anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 or more with residuals. A new actor booking a re-occurring character on a network television show can expect to make $500,000 to $850,000 for 8 months worth or work.

Shooting Kids (under 18)

Anyone under 18 needs to be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian during the shoot. I usually shoot children under 12 at their house or a location of their choice. Young kids are usually more relaxed when they're around familiar surroundings.

Is my child is interested or is right for the entertainment industry?

First of all, congratulations for taking the time to ask questions and learn all you can. Doing the research will definitely help you with your journey of pursuing your child's interest in performing. For those of you with "wee' ones, this will help you know where to start, but you must allow it to be your child's choice as they get older and can decide for themselves. Just like a sport or hobby, you don't want to "push" your child into something that they are not comfortable with.

You may ask – how do I know if my child is interested or is right for the entertainment industry? Many children start imitating everything they see on TV or sing songs all the time, whether it's something they've heard or something they've made up. They put on their own little skits or plays. They like to perform for family and friends. They love to talk to strangers and are very outgoing.

Now, some don't do this if they've not had any exposure to things like this yet. Exposure is the key. In addition to TV, or if you don't own one, take them to childrens' plays, movies, a ballet (boys, too), the baseball game and take note of the anthem singer, anywhere where there are performers. Also, see how they react with strangers. I know the world we live in can be a scary place, but with guidance, see how they interact with adults. That will be something they will be doing on a regular basis when they become involved in performing.

Get them involved in school plays and/or community theatre groups. Giving them the chance to be on a stage will let them know if they like it or if they don't. See how they react. Do they want more? Let them guide you. If they love it and continue to be involved in different shows, it's important that they also shouldn't feel that they always need to be the "lead" in any and every show they are in. Just being a part of it is what should count. I love the saying – there is no "I" in ensemble. Having the right attitude will take them far. Earning the lead is one thing and there are some children that are sometimes blessed with that factor, but having a "diva" attitude gets old real quick!!! Also, please don't be the parent that thinks their child should always have the lead. Let them earn that on their own.

If this is something your child truly has a passion for, be ready to make the commitment. For many households it's a major change in life style. Not the glamorous kind, but the I'm-on-the-road-all-the-time kind. It's long hours and hard work for both parent and child. It takes team work and flexibility for the entire family. You will be constantly juggling schedules, classes, auditions, bookings, rehearsals, transportation, family time, money – you name it. Your child will be working hard to keep their grades to a minimum of a "C" in each subject or class at school, while taking acting, singing and/or dance and learning lines for auditions. You and your child must be able to move on from one aspect of the process to another, deal with the endless disappointments that will come your way without dwelling on them (easier said than done) and still never give up. There are no set rules, amount of time, or number of auditions to go by before your child books their first job. They may go on 50 to 100 auditions before he/she books something. Just keep plugging away. The positive results will be amazing, but it takes time, hard work, commitment and a positive attitude.

Just because your child doesn't book anything quickly does not mean he/she is doing something wrong. What one casting director or director doesn't see in your child, another will see. It just depends what the director is looking for. The director has a vision and if your child is the vision, they usually know the minute the child walks in the door.

What if my child doens’t have a resume?

In the mean time, you need to start putting a resume together for your child. If they are still young and have nothing to put on a resume, just have a great description of your childs' strengths, talents and attributes to list in a cover letter. They are friendly, outgoing, has a cute giggle, loves to talk to strangers, dances around the house, sings all the time, taught himself the national anthem at age 3, loves having their picture taken, etc. For older children who have something to put on a resume, it would include any talents, skills or experience they've had with acting, singing, or dance as well as cheerleading, gymnastics, musical instruments, martial arts, drama awards, etc. As they start or continue to participate in acting, music and/or dance classes, choirs, school plays, community theatre, or whatever, all these will be added credits to their resume.

Student films are a great way to gain experience in front of the camera and also give your child some footage to have made into a directors reel. These can be listed under the Film category on their resume, if it is a lead or supporting role (a role with lines you have spoken). Do not list extra or background work. You can check out the local colleges in your area and see if they have a film department. Some of them have a place where you can submit your child's headshot and resume for them to keep on file for student projects. You want to do anything you can (within reason) to help further your child's training and experience. That is the FIRST thing that the agents will be looking for.

Background work (being an extra in film and TV) is also a great way for your child to gain some experience and to learn what goes on behind the scenes, but remember, it does not count as "acting" on your child's acting resume.

Should my young child get professional headshots?

You'll need a couple of photos to submit to the agents with your child's resume. Home snapshots are fine. You can have professional headshots taken before your child gets an agent if money is not an issue, but be prepared to have new ones taken if your child's agent requests it. They usually do.

If you plan on having your child auditioning on your own without an agent, lets say for student films, then you probably should get a set of professional headshots taken.

A serious pose for theatrical and a smiling pose for commercial and comedy work. One good pose may work fine for all submissions. They should be natural and not a glamour shot.

Casting directors look for "real" and natural looking children – not all made up. It is important that your child's headshot looks like what they will look like when they walk in a casting director's door.

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