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Daughter wants to get into acting... some advice with headshots?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My youngest DD has been interested in acting for ages, mostly just because she wants to direct movies.  As of now she just wants to get onto a set to "see how things run", and acting is pretty much the only way for a kid of her age (thirteen).  I push pretty hard against her, since I don't want her growing up as a child actress with a weird childhood, but she's been persistent and made some good points, promises, and compromises.  She found a job submission in a city an hour from us and wants to submit, which I said she could.  She already has her resume from various theater things, but she doesn't have professional headshots, which are supposed to be sent in to the casting director so he can see if she's what they're looking for.  I don't want to spend a crazy amount of money on headshots for her since this likely won't be a regular thing, but I recognize that she won't even have a chance if she doesn't have headshots.  Does anyone know a way we could maybe take them ourselves or with a friend's camera to still look professional but without spending the crazy money?  It's really important to her and she wants to get these photos ready before the window closes.  Thanks!

post #2 of 6

No advice about the acting or headshots, but aren't there any film-making clubs, camps, or schools near where you are? Maybe I live in a weird corner of the universe but where I am there are regular film workshops but little in the way of acting excepting a bit of community theatre. 



post #3 of 6
It seems like there are all sorts of fledgling photographers these days. I'd probably start with a post on Facebook asking if anyone would be willing to take the photos in exchange for xxx (amount of money, service, child care, dinner, yard work, etc.).
post #4 of 6

Yeah, FB is a good option: you'll likely come up with names and references for people who are doing a little bit of freelance photography or have part-time home-based photography businesses, people who may just be developing a portfolio and a client base and don't charge much. Just don't expect to find someone willing to do good work for free "for the experience." As a performing artist I have to say that expecting people with talent and ability to do good work for free is a pet peeve of mine, and it is a rampant type of request in photography circles. Yes, an ambitious wanna-be pro photographer might be willing to do a shoot for a public figure or a popular event for free because that kind of high-profile work is free advertising. A kid's headshot is not, though. So unless it's someone you know well enough to ask a big favour of, I think it's insulting to expect to pay next-to-nothing. Not that that's what you were suggesting ... 


I do think that if she's serious about getting work, a professional headshot is the way to go. You may hear stories about people getting auditions with amateur shots (I don't, though I'm sure it happens), but I've heard many people say that a good professional headshot is one of the most important investments you can make in pursuing the acting game. 



post #5 of 6

It doesn't hurt to try on your own. The worst to happen is you don't like them and have to go hire someone. I've always taken my kids head shots. I've got a good camera and a pretty good eye. I wouldn't hire myself out but the pictures I've gotten of my own kids have always looked right next to the pro shots in the programs and such. We'll go out and take 300 shots to get a couple that they really like. Some tricks I learned trial and error. Lighting is the real trouble spot. Use natural light. When you don't have the professional lighting systems of the pros you shouldn't even try to replicate with a regular camera flash. In our area, light is typically best at like 10 in the morning... bright but soft. Try to find simple backgrounds. You want a nice color or pattern but not distracting. Avoid trees, flowers, ect. While the beach seems a natural place, it's breezy and hair goes all over lol. Personally, I like sitting on a step with an interesting color door in the background, against a brick wall or a long walkway with arches... stuff like that. Current style is color shots from about mid-chest up. I take the shot I like into photoshop, crop it to 8X10, put a white border around it (within the 8x10 not outside it,) put their name in the bottom right corner and send to the printer. Make sure the picture looks like your kid... very natural make-up, natural hairstyle, solid color top.


Checkout some photography websites to get an idea of what general headshots look like. If you try and not happy a google search can help you find local photographers. I agree with others that it doesn't hurt to see in any of your local friends take photos as a hobby.


Good luck!

post #6 of 6

My dd is into acting as well.  We paid for professional shots once (got a good deal) and then she needed updated shots for a workshop that she was going to.  I just took them.  Granted, with a digital camera and a patient child, I took about 100 shots of her before we found one that looked right to us.  She took them to the workshop.  Part of the workshop was a critique on their resume, headshots, etc. and we got great marks on our headshots.  The casting director had a checklist and a "biggie" on it was that the child was recognizable between the picture and in person.  He said that so many people go over the top with the head shot and you have no idea who will walk through the door.  


So, my advise is to keep it real.  Have her hair/makeup nice (of course) but don't try to turn her into someone else for the photo.  



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