Sep 06

Do Your Headshots Showcase Casting Range?

Exploring a key principle from the recent Actors Guild headshot seminar:  in the modern casting environment it’s vital to have headshots subtly showcasing the full range of your casting.

The Actors Guild of Great Britain

Actor Built. Actor Led.

Last week marked a small, but notable first, as I ran my first online-onlyTake Control of Your Headshots‘ seminar for generally ace, highly ethical and all-round laudable organisation The Actors Guild.

If you don’t know them already (and with 3,000  members, and nearly 4,000 more signed up to the newsletter, you probably do), immediately check out their diverse range of workshops, programmed by actors, for actors.

The chat room / forum seminar format made for a dynamic discussion, covering a lot of ground, and feeding back on attendees current portfolios.


Range is key

But one specific point from the seminar really stood out, and I thought it’d be worth mining into it a little.

Here’s the thought in question from Katherine Press:

Hitting the nail on the head(shot)

Now: this is something I’m always banging on about in headshot seminars and sessions.

Why? Because used properly, the headshot portfolios on Spotlight, CCP, The Page UK or CNI UK  cvs offer an amazing opportunity to subtly present a broad range of casting to employers and casting professionals.

If a casting director’s troubled to click into your main thumbnail photo to view the rest of your photos, they are (temporarily) a captive audience, so that’s a massive opportunity to showcase your range.

Of course; not with character shots, photos that don’t look like you, or a range of looks or photos so great that it is off-putting, rather than inviting. 20 or 30 photos will just alienate.

But why waste the chance to shine and show range by instead using practically identical photos?

Here’s a mocked-up example of the sort of  portfolio it’s common to see:

A bad mocked-up portfolio

Some emotional range but very similar feeling (mocked up) portfolio










And here’s the range of photos this actor (RADA student Will Alexander) actually chose:

Age range, status and emotional qualities subtly displayed

Check out Nicola Stuart-Hill's excellent portfolio on Spotlight

Check out Nicola Stuart-Hill’s excellent portfolio on Spotlight

I’m sure you see the difference, and can start to turn the principle to your own portfolio.

I can’t use other photographer’s photos here for copyright reasons, but, just so you can see the idea in  real-world practice via other photographers, visit Nicola Stuart-Hill’s Spotlight CV for one of the best examples from the seminar of playing range being displayed through a portfolio.

Nicola’s done a fantastic job of judiciously selecting a harmonious bunch of photos that still tell very different casting stories.

Tips on showing range

  • You might achieve a nice balance out of one session, or you might blend together shots from different photographers over a couple of years to create a dynamic portfolio.
  • 3-6 photos with a performance shot or two makes for a great chance to show range while still being easy for the eye to take in.
  • The more you brief your photographer before and during your session, the more tailored your shots will be to the jobs you need them to do.
  • Curate your portfolio and review regularly: make sure that each shot really earns its place on merit, not just because it’s been there for a while.

Hope that’s helpful, and any thoughts post or message me.

07/092012 MW



3 pings

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