Written by Vanie Poyey
So you go get yourself some awesome headshots. You go home full of excitement, you look through all the photos, and you do what we all do when looking at pictures of ourselves… you criticize. Not the photographer of course, but yourself. You start to nitpick every detail from the mole on your cheek, to your not-so-perfect nose, to your asymmetrical eyes, and the list goes on. Pretty soon you’re no longer paying attention to your marketing looks and the essences you need to select for each, but instead you’re spiraling down that vanity rabbit hole. “That shot would be perfect only if that one piece of hair was moved to the left by a 1/4 of an inch.” Or, “If only that shot didn’t have the fold in my armpit showing.” Or, “Oh, and this shot would be perfect if I didn’t look so cross-eyed”.
Surely you can’t show your agent all these horrible images!
So now you go down the path of self-editing; looking for that perfect shot where your face is perfectly positioned, your hair is perfect, the armpit is hidden and you dwindle down your choices to the most perfect ten. You eagerly send off your images to your agent and wait for him to pick out the best headshots to upload to casting sites. You’re so sure that he’ll like them as much as you do because — how could he not? You got rid of all the “bad” ones and you can’t wait to hear from him.
A call comes in from your agent and you think, “Wow this is great, he loved them so much, he’s calling to share his choices!” NOT. Your agent says he doesn’t like any of them and you didn’t get what he was looking for. “None of them are usable.” Your heart sinks. You have visions of dollar bills flying off into the sky. How could this be? You gave him your best shots and you even shot with the photographer he recommended. Not to mention you did all the right things. You researched your looks, you bought all the right cloths, you paid for a professional makeup artist AND you spent a lot of money on your headshots! But why?
After going through all the emotions, from disappointment to helplessness, you finally land on anger. You put in a call to the photographer because of course it’s his fault that this happened. You did your job so he must not have done his.
Sound familiar? You get where I’m going with this?
After much deliberation with the photographer, you come to realize you needed to send ALL your images to your agent.
Over the years, every now and again, I get that call from a client. I’ve become an expert at identifying self-editors. When I know we’ve done a good job of communicating, collaborating and creating exactly what the agent and actor asked for, my first question is always, “Did your agent see all the images?” If you haven’t figured it out yet, you will very quickly, you are the worst possible judge of your own headshots. I’m sorry but it’s true. While you’re focused on how you look, others are focused on your essence and personality, your marketing looks, and what they convey. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
No one — especially casting directors — gives a damn if your eyes are asymmetrical or if your smile is crooked. All they care about is if you look like you can play the part. Period.
Next time you pay a lot of money for headshots, don’t shortchange yourself by “self editing” before your reps see all of your images. Trust them, most know what they’re doing and they are much more objective when it comes to picking out effective headshots, even for you.
Voted one of La’s favorite headshot photographers by Backstage Readers’ 3 years in a row, “One of Hollywood’s Best” as mentioned on the Ricki Lake Show and featured on the “Tia and Tamara” show, Vanie Poyey delivers headshots with personality for actors that don’t like to pose.