Acting headshots - Professional photography - Professional headshot LA

What Are Acting Headshots?

Acting headshots are special photos of actors and actresses. They are really important for getting acting roles. Casting directors use these pictures to decide if someone is right for a specific part. They look at things like how the person looks and how they act in the picture. The main goal of acting headshots is to show off the person’s unique face, feelings, and expressions in the photo. A good headshot can make a person stand out from others who want the same role. By the way, there are different types of headshots, like theatrical headshots and commercial headshots.  Although both are subcategories of acting headshots, you might want to know that there are still differences between theatrical and commercial headshots. They each have their style. So, acting headshots help people in their acting careers!


Are Acting Headshots Important?

Have you ever encountered someone whom you either instantly liked or disliked? 

Sometimes we can pinpoint the reason behind our feelings, while other times, it’s a mystery. However, it’s fascinating that most people tend to form their “first impressions” of others within a mere fraction of a second – just 1/8th! These initial impressions can significantly impact hiring, purchasing, and who we listen to. In acting, especially for aspiring actors, casting directors rely on headshots to decide who to allow to audition for their roles. Therefore, investing in a well-crafted set of headshots can open doors for your career.

What Do I Wear for Acting Headshots?

Your choice of attire should align with your personality and target roles. If you’re aiming for the jock persona, dress accordingly. Want to embody the “rich business man”? A suit is the way to go. Matching your desired roles in your headshots increases the chances of casting directors seeing you as a perfect fit for their openings.

For a versatile headshot, opt for a “fashionably casual” style – think simple yet stylish clothing. Steer clear of distracting elements like complex patterns, logos, or accessories that take attention away from your face. Remember, the goal is to capture your essence and make a lasting impression.

How Do I Pose for Acting Headshots?

There’s no need to go overboard with your poses regarding acting headshots. In our sessions, we prefer to focus on minimalist poses. We’ve witnessed other photographers pushing their clients into downright bizarre positions, but we steer clear of that practice like the plague.

After all, our goal is to highlight your acting skills—not to showcase our photography prowess. At the start of your session, it’s best to warm up with simple and straightforward poses. Just stand there and let your smile shine.

As we progress, we’ll explore poses that align perfectly with your target roles. Rest assured, we aim to capture your essence in the most captivating way possible.

Acting headshots - Professional photography - Professional headshot LA
Acting headshots - Professional photography - Professional headshot LA

What Backdrops are Best for Acting Headshots?

Regarding headshots, it’s generally best to avoid colorful or distracting backdrops. After all, you want the focus to be on you! Avoid patterns or gradients in your backdrop choice. 

Acting headshots are typically taken against a paper studio backdrop, although outdoor shoots are also an option. Opt for neutral colors that complement your look without detracting attention from you. We use black, dark grey, or off-white backdrops for most sessions.

Please look at our professional headshot backgrounds page to see examples of each backdrop we offer. At Zen Studios LA, we provide colored studio backdrops and a pure white option.

How Should I Prepare for Acting Headshots?

Preparing for your headshot in advance involves three key steps. To optimize your upcoming session, start by making sure you prioritize essential elements such as getting enough rest, engaging in regular exercise, and exposing yourself to sunlight. While our editing team ensures that your selected photos are retouched before delivery, your preparation will significantly contribute to their natural appearance.

Secondly, it is advisable to briefly wear your desired clothing a couple of days before the session. This will allow you to confirm that the outfits still fit well and don’t require any last-minute dry cleaning.

Lastly, take a moment to review some of your previous photos and identify any that you particularly like. Upon arriving at the studio, share these photos with your photographer. This will assist us in capturing angles that you find most flattering.

How Much Do Acting Headshots Cost?

Depending on geography, package, and provider, an actor’s headshots can cost between $225 and above.

When pricing, it is essential to consider two key factors: licensing and retouching fees.

When it comes to licensing, it is common for photographers to grant ownership of photos only when they are “bought” from them. This ownership fee is separate from the “session fee,” which covers the time spent in the photographer’s studio.

Additional licensing fees may apply if you intend to use the photos for a press release, advertisement, magazine, or book cover.

Regarding retouching, many photographers charge between $225 and $999 per photo. It is advisable to factor in these fees when calculating the total cost of your session.

Welcome to Zen Studios! Our sessions start at an affordable price, and you also get to keep 100% usage rights for ALL images from your shoot. And that’s not all! You’ll also receive a custom-retouched image of your choice. Exciting. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, we’ve covered you with our Virtual Headshot services. Don’t wait; book now and let us capture your best self!

Acting headshots - Professional photography - Professional headshot LA
  • 1 Look (1 Outfit / 1 Backdrop)

  • Wardrobe Consultation

  • 1 Hi-res Retouched Image

  • Women – Makeup – Add $140

  • Men – Grooming – Add $125

  • Contact us for Spring Promo 2024!

  • 2 Looks (Outfits and/or Backdrop Change)

  • Wardrobe Consultation

  • 2 Hi-res Retouched Images

  • Women – Makeup – Add $140

  • Men – Grooming – Add $125


  • On-Location Shoot – 120 min Session

  • Wardrobe Consultation

  • 10 Hi-res Retouched Images

  • Women – Makeup – Add $200

  • Men – Grooming – Add $125