How To Take Acting Headshots At Home

How To Take Acting Headshots At Home

How to Take Acting Headshots at Home

In the competitive world of acting, a professional headshot is an essential tool. It’s your first impression on casting directors and agents, so it’s important to get it right. But if you’re on a tight budget, hiring a professional photographer can be expensive.

Luckily, it’s possible to take great acting headshots at home with a little practice and the right equipment. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

Equipment You’ll Need

  • DSLR or mirrorless camera with a portrait lens (85mm or 105mm)
  • Tripod
  • White or neutral-colored backdrop
  • Two light sources (e.g., softboxes, ring lights)
  • Remote shutter release (optional)

Step 1: Choose a Backdrop

Choose a backdrop that is neutral and won’t distract from your face. A white or light gray wall is a good option. Make sure the backdrop is well-lit and avoid any wrinkles or creases.

Step 2: Set Up Your Lighting

The key to good headshots is proper lighting. You want to create even, flattering light that will highlight your features. Set up two light sources on either side of your face, angled slightly towards you. Adjust the intensity of the lights to create the desired effect.

Step 3: Position Yourself

Stand in front of the backdrop with your shoulders relaxed and your head held high. Look directly into the camera lens and slightly tilt your head to one side. Keep your eyes open wide and engaged.

Step 4: Take the Shot

Use a remote shutter release or the camera’s self-timer to take the picture. This will help you avoid camera shake and ensure a sharp image. Take multiple shots with slightly different angles and expressions to give yourself options.

Step 5: Edit Your Headshots

Once you have your shots, you can edit them in Photoshop or another photo editing software. Adjust the levels, contrast, and sharpness to improve the overall look of the image. Remove any blemishes or distractions and crop the photo to a standard headshot size (head and shoulders).

Tips for Great Headshots

  • Dress professionally and in solid colors that won’t compete with your face.
  • Keep your hair and makeup natural and professional.
  • Relax and be yourself. The best headshots capture your authentic personality.
  • Experiment with different angles and expressions to create a variety of options.
  • Ask a friend or family member for feedback on your headshots.

Additional Information

Aspect RatioPixelsFile Format
Social Media1:1JPEG

Interesting Facts

  • The first acting headshot was taken in the late 19th century by the English photographer Frederick H. Evans.
  • The standard headshot size for theatrical productions is 8×10 inches.
  • A headshot can cost anywhere from $50 to $500, depending on the photographer and the number of shots taken.
  • Some casting directors prefer headshots that are black and white.
  • It’s important to update your headshots regularly to reflect your current appearance.


Q: What lens should I use for headshots?

A: A portrait lens with a focal length of 85mm or 105mm is ideal for headshots. These lenses will create a flattering perspective and minimize distortion.

Q: How far away from the backdrop should I stand?

A: Stand 6-8 feet away from the backdrop to ensure that your entire head and shoulders are in the frame.

Q: What if I don’t have two light sources?

A: If you only have one light source, position it slightly to the side of your face and use a reflector to fill in the shadows on the other side.

Q: How can I improve my facial expressions?

A: Practice in front of a mirror and experiment with different angles and expressions. Ask a friend or family member for feedback on which expressions look most natural and professional.

Q: What are some common headshot mistakes?

A: Some common headshot mistakes include:

  • Poor lighting
  • Distracting backdrop
  • Inappropriate clothing or makeup
  • Unprofessional facial expressions
  • Over-editing
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