Posing for headshots can be stressful. Actors who are used to being someone else in front of a camera are suddenly asked to be themselves—but the version of themselves that will convince agents, casting directors, and everyone else that they deserve the job. To keep from freezing up the next time you’re due to pose for shots, we spoke to model Erin Leeper for advice on getting the best headshot possible—regardless of nerves.
Think Classic Wardrobe
Wear any type of basic, because basics are going to give your headshot longevity. You probably want to wear a nice tank top from J.Crew or Banana Republic or a black T-shirt. I like when men are wearing V-necks in their headshots; it gives a very good neckline.
Three-Quarter Money Shot
A three-quarter profile is the money shot for everyone. Definitely for me. I like to give that first. After that, I like to do dead on.
Avoid Dead Eyes
When we’re talking about headshots, you want the client to be able to see who you are. I like to think of happy things to put life in my eyes. You just think of whatever works for you. If you’re having a bad day, it’s going to show on your face; the camera will pick it up. And I really don’t like to look surprised. I used to have a problem with that when the camera flashed. I try to have strength in my eyes. You have to look approachable, like the girl or guy next door, someone you can have a conversation with. If it’s a smile, I just make sure I’m giving extremely genuine smiles with good thoughts on my mind. And if it’s partly open lips, I think to breathe through my mouth a little bit so I get perfectly parted lips.
Variety Is Everything
Give a variety of facial expressions. If they don’t have any type of footage of you, you want to let them know that you’re comfortable and can give all kinds of expressions.
Get to Know Your Photographer
If I haven’t worked with a photographer before, I like to get in a conversation with him or her immediately. Just about what they’re doing and their day. And that’s how I feel if we’re going to click. And for the most part you’re going to. If you’re in the same industry, there’s going to be some sort of similarity. It puts me at ease, and when I’m at ease it helps me get the shot. When I was younger, I used to care about having a pretty book, but now I’m like, as long as these shots get me the job that’s going to make me the most amount of money. And it’s important to keep relationships with photographers and stylists and get to know them for who they are.