The Best Headshot Poses for Actors

What looks great to you may not be what casting directors have in mind. This guide will teach you what looks to go for.

The Best Headshot Poses for Actors

As an actor, you understand the importance of getting great headshots. However, what looks great to you may not be what casting directors have in mind. Fortunately, this helpful guide will teach you what looks to go for, so you always have a significant advantage.

How to Pose for Actor Headshots

The first thing to remember about headshots is that you’ll need at least four types. If you can nail each of the following poses, you can greatly improve your odds of getting selected.

#1: Everyday Pose

The everyday pose should capture the way you look when you’re lost in thought. This one is often the hardest headshots to get because acting natural in front of the camera is much harder than it sounds. However, pulling it off will show casting directors what you’ll look like when you’re on screen. Remember to relax your body and, if possible, actually get lost in thought.

#2: Smiling Pose

It’s always important to capture at least one headshot that showcases your smile. The tricky part about this is you must smile genuinely. Again, this can be a challenge when a camera is in your face. If you can’t pull it off in a headshot, though, how will you pull it off on screen? Make sure you’re as relaxed and comfortable as you can be. Perhaps try leaning against a wall or thinking about one of your favorite funny memories.

#3: Neutral Pose

When you pose for a neutral headshot, you’ll need to ensure that your facial muscles erase all emotions. The point of the neutral pose is to let casting directors see a blank slate. In other words, this pose shouldn’t look like your typical pose. In fact, if you nail both poses, the two photographs should look very different. Actively work with your face until you have the most neutral look possible. Make sure the photographer is ready to take your picture!

#4: Emotional Pose

This is your chance to let it all out. A good photographer will allow you to go through the motions of several different emotions. You could scream, cry, be vulnerable, etc. Give it your all, no matter what you think it’s going to look like. You’ll be surprised at what your photographer picks up, and it may even be difficult to choose the best picture.

Poses for Actor Headshots

While going through the above headshots, always keep your back straight. Good posture exudes confidence and will stand out to casting directors. You will also want to keep your eyes engaged throughout every shot. In essence, the difference between a good actor headshot and a great one is usually decided by the look in your eyes. So, no matter what, make sure your eyes aren’t listless.

Another trick you should rely on is slight body movements. The overall goal is to ensure you never allow your body to become 100 percent camera facing. Doing so just isn’t flattering, so always work your angles. Additionally, keep your arms and hands relaxed. You may not be able to see them, but if they’re not relaxed, it will affect your entire body.

Getting Fantastic Actor Headshots

The secret to taking truly compelling actor headshots is practice, practice, practice! You should pose in front of a mirror and run through every look you’re considering. Seeing yourself as you pose is the best way to tell what works vs. what doesn’t.

You’ll also want to feel comfortable with your photographer who will help choose poses that will capture a casting director’s attention. If you don’t, you’ll be setting yourself up for an uphill battle.

Now that you have these tips, your next batch of headshots should turn out much better. Go get yourself some photos that are going to make your career shine!

About the author: Kyle Bondeson has been a professional photographer since 2009. He specializes in doing headshots and portraits in the Chicago area. Kyle successfully uses the tips listed above to get high-quality results.

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