What to wear for your actor's headshot 

What to wear for your actor's headshot 

Not sure what to wear for your Actors Headshot? Our 5 expert tips will help you out.

A question that we hear again and again is “What should I wear for my Actors headshot?”.

We have years of experience photographing Actors headshots in Barcelona, and have an expert grasp on what does, and doesn’t work when it comes to choosing your outfits for your new headshot.

We’ve put together a list of foolproof tips to help you prepare, and make sure you leave your photo session with new headshots that you, and your agent, will love.

Tip 1: Know the role you want to get cast for, and let that guide what to wear. 

Your new Acting portraits are your first step in getting cast in the roles you’ve always dreamt of.

Let me explain: imagine that you always play the same ‘young and innocent teen’ role, but now you’ve outgrown that character and want to get cast for a more mature and serious character. Dressing for the role you want to get cast for, will subconsciously help the casting director see you as playing that character. Think “What would the character that I want to play, wear?”, and let that guide you.

Actor Tommy Roca sitting down with hands clasped

Outfits can have a big influence on how you’re perceived.

However, we advise against going overboard and getting dressed ‘in full character’. Casting directors stress how important it is to see how you actually look.

Actor headshot of Tommy Roca taken by Retratos Barcelona

Dress for the role you want to get cast for.

At Retratos Barcelona, all of our clients receive a pre-shoot consultation video call, in which we discuss the roles you want to get cast for, and help you decide what to wear.

Tip 2: Don’t let your outfit take all the attention.

The aim of an acting headshot is to catch the interest of a casting director, and make them want to know you. This happens when the actor successfully connects with the camera on an emotional level. If you’re getting your headshots taken by a specialist headshot photographer, they should be able to guide you and bring out the best performance to create this connection.

While your clothes are a very important element that contribute to a great acting portrait, they shouldn’t take the attention away from your face, expression and emotion.

Your clothes are like a supporting actor, which should strengthen, but not distract from the star of the show – you!

A professional actors headshot of Actor Eivaut Rischen

Your outfit should compliment your portrait.

Tip 3: Bring these essentials to achieve a variety of looks. 

Depending on the type of role you want to get cast for, you could consider the following options. 

Essentials: For male actors, we recommend bringing a variety of top options, which could (but don’t have to) include:

  • T-shirts
  • Polo shirts
  • Turtle necks
  • Button shirts
  • Jumpers
  • Jackets

Layering up tops are a great way to add depth to your headshots (for example, a button shirt over a T-shirt).

If your planning on getting some 3/4 length, and full body portraits, don’t forget to bring a selection of jeans, trousers and shoes that compliment the tops.

We can’t stress enough the importance that the clothes fit well and are in good condition – a wrinkled old T-shirt with a stretched neckline can ruin an otherwise great headshot.

Acting portrait of Actor Joe Bentley

Layering tops can add depth to your actor headshot.

Colours: In general, we normally recommend keeping the colours darker than your skin tone as this helps the attention stay on your face (however, there are always exceptions). 

  • Safe colours to bring include black, earthy colours, grey and neutral tones. 
  • Rich colours (like navy, blue, burnt orange, green) can be great choices and really help your headshots stand out.
  • If you know which colour palette works best for you, bring options in those colours, or try hues which bring out your eye colour and flatter your skin tone. 
  • Colours to avoid are anything too strong, such as bold red or bright pink, as these tend to overpower the subject and draw the attention away from their face. 

Your specialist headshot photographer should be able to recommend colours based on your skin tone, hair and eye colour.

Patterns: In general, plain solid colour clothes work best, as patterns can be a distraction (remember that we want the focus of the portrait to be on your face, not the clothes). The same applies to logos; avoid anything with a distracting logo.

Fit: We always recommend trying your clothes on a week before to check how they feel and fit. Suitably fitted clothes will always be the most flattering (avoid anything too baggy or too tight). You can always take photos on your phone beforehand to see how they look, or ask a friend for their honest advice. 

Whatever you bring, make sure you feel great wearing it.

Tip 4: Please don’t forget to iron.

One of the fastest ways to ruin a great photo, is by wearing a wrinkled top. If your top is wrinkled in real life, it will appear wrinkled in the photo. Please take the time to iron your outfits before the shoot – we promise it’ll be worth it! 

We recommend that our clients get changed into their outfits once they arrive to our studio. This avoids any unnecessary creasing that can happen while travelling.

An acting portrait of Spanish actor Enrique Bofill

Preparation is key to getting a successful acting portrait.

Tip 5: A little grooming goes a long way

While not exactly a wardrobe tip, being well groomed is essential preparation for your photo. 

  • Drink plenty of water in the days leading to your business portrait session. 
  • Get lots of sleep the night before your shoot to avoid dark bags under your eyes.  
  • Moisturise like your life depends on it – ideally twice a day for the past 10 years. But if that never happened, twice a day in the days leading up to your shoot will help. 
  • A fresh haircut always looks good. And this doesn’t just apply to the hair on the top of your head. Check those eyebrows and nose hairs to make sure everything is in check! 
  • If you’re clean shaven, we recommend shaving the day before the session. Often shaving on the day of the shoot can leave skin irritation that you want to avoid. 

We have a hair and makeup area at our studio, where you can take time to style your hair before we begin shooting. Just bring your own styling products and you’ll be good to go.

If you prefer to hire our professional hair and makeup artist to help you look your very best, you can simply add on the service when you’re booking your headshots with us. 

What to wear for your actors headshot – That’s a wrap! 

We hope this guide has helped prepare you for your Actors Headshot session. The most important thing to bring to your session is a positive attitude, as that looks great on everyone! 

If you’d like to learn how our actor’s headshots can help you land your dream role, click here. 

If you’d like to read what a casting director considers to be a great actors headshot, read on.