Table of contents
Share Post

Commercial vs. Theatrical Headshots – Understanding the Differences

If you’re wondering whether there is a difference between a theatrical and commercial headshot, the answer is yes. Considering that the two are used to apply for entirely different jobs, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. 

Both theatrical headshots and commercial headshots are types of acting headshots, but they are not the same. Let me explain it to you, just like I would explain it to a 10-year-old. Acting headshots are pictures that actors use when they apply for acting jobs. Theatrical headshots are specifically for theater, movies, and TV shows, while commercial headshots are for TV ads. So, they are used in different industries. It’s like having different tools for different jobs.

It helps if you look at some of the requirements and purposes of each shot.

Theatrical Headshots

Theatrical Headshot Male

If you want to be cast in a film, TV show, or play, what you need is a theatrical headshot. This shot must contain a great deal of emotional depth. The casting director wants to see layers of personality, not an easily identifiable cookie-cutter persona.

When it comes to acting, whether you’re playing a real character or not, it’s important to make it seem like a real person, not just a made-up character. You don’t want to have a fake expression stuck on your face; instead, you want to show a range of emotions with just one look. However, this doesn’t apply to funny headshots. Funny shots are for sitcoms, TV comedies, and stand-up comedies. They combine elements from both theatrical and commercial headshots. Theatrical headshots, which are pictures of actors used for theater roles, are an important type of headshot.

For example, when it comes to comedic headshots, we want them to have vibrant colors and a lively personality. But, we also need them to show some character, which means using subtle facial expressions. These headshots are like a mix of commercial and theatrical headshots, which are pictures that actors use to show off their range of emotions and abilities. Theatrical headshots are very important in the acting world, so we need to make sure we include them in our discussion.

What To Wear For Theatrical Headshots

The focus of theatrical headshots is your emotional state. People do everything they can not to draw attention away from their expression. As such, overly bright tones are a no-go.

Theatrical headshots are special pictures taken to showcase actors and actresses. When it comes to choosing the right clothes for these pictures, it’s important to find a balance. Black and white shirts might seem like good choices because they are neutral, but they can be too crisp and take away from the actor or actress. Instead, it’s better to go for earthy tones like brown or army green. Sometimes, grays can work too. Having a little bit of color is important because too much can be distracting, but too little can make the picture look boring. So, the wardrobe for a theatrical headshot should have some color to catch attention but not so much that it takes away from the person in the picture.

Perfect Facial Expression For Theatrical Headshots

Is it okay to smile in a theatrical headshot? Well, it actually depends on the persona you want to portray. Generally, when taking theatrical headshots, it’s important to have confident expressions. Smiling is not typically required unless your character absolutely needs it. So, it’s like capturing a picture of yourself in a specific role or character for acting purposes, and you want to make sure you show the right expression.

When taking theatrical headshots, the eyes play a big role in showing emotions. Actors and actresses use their eyes to express different feelings like sadness, vulnerability, arrogance, hesitation, and more. Sometimes, a little smirk or a sly smile is needed to complete an expression. It all depends on the character the person wants to portray. So, in theatrical headshots, the eyes are super important for telling a story!

Commercial Headshots

Commercial Headshot - Acting Headshot - Theatrical Headshots

Commercial headshots are important when you want to apply for jobs in the advertising industry. You see, advertisements are made for specific groups of people, and your commercial headshot needs to show the kind of people you want to appeal to. So, it’s like a picture that helps you get the right job in the advertising world. Remember, commercial headshots are super important!

Commercial headshots need to be very specific. Let me explain it to you like I’m talking to a 10-year-old. Whether you’re a rich Wall Street trader living a fancy life, a shy teenage girl dreaming of being a star, or a happy but careful first-time parent, the person casting for commercials wants to see that right away. They’re not looking for subtle expressions. They want bold and obvious expressions because commercials are meant for a wide audience. So, when you take your commercial headshots, remember to show your true self and make it clear who you are.

What To Wear For Commercial Headshots 

When you’re choosing what to wear for commercial headshots, it’s important to consider attractive colors. You can’t go wrong with jewel tones – these are colors like blues, reds, and greens. These colors are darker and help draw attention to the actor’s expressions in the photos. So, for your commercial headshots, remember to pick colors that will make you stand out!

Commercial headshots require vibrant and lively colors, so keep your greys, earth tones, and blacks in your wardrobe. If you do choose something dark, make sure to have a bright backdrop to create contrast. The goal is to make your headshot stand out and grab attention! Advertisers want people who can catch the eye of large audiences. So, remember to use warm and energetic colors and express yourself in a way that draws attention.

The Best Facial Expressions For Commercial Headshots

This is the perfect time to show off your best and brightest smile. You see when advertisers are looking for people to feature in their commercials, they don’t usually pick those who look sad or serious. They want someone full of life, energy, and excitement. That’s why smiling is really important. It helps you look happy and approachable, which is exactly what they are looking for. So, if you want to have a chance at being in those commercials, make sure to practice your smiling skills! And don’t forget about commercial headshots – those are important photos that show off your personality and can help you get noticed by advertisers. Just remember to smile and be yourself!

So, imagine this: your character is the bad guy, right? Well, let’s say he just got out of jail, and he’s having a blast. Now, when it comes to taking commercial headshots, you don’t want to look sad or too serious. It’s all about showing off your personality and having some charisma. Commercial headshots are super important for actors and models to get noticed in the industry. So remember, have fun, and let your personality shine in those pictures!

One thing to keep in mind is to look and feel alive when taking the headshot. Don’t just plaster an expression and a smile on your face. Be in that moment, feel that joy and excitement. The way to capture genuine energy through a headshot is by creating authentic moments, whether you’re in the middle of a hearty laugh or a big cheeky smile. It is these moments of authenticity that jump out of the shot and grab the attention of the casting crew.

Contact Zen Studios LA Today!

Now, let me explain something to you. Both theatrical headshots and commercial headshots are quite similar because they both fall under the category of acting headshots. However, there is one thing that can make a big difference – having the best professional headshot photographer! That’s where Zen Studios LA comes in. They have a team of experts who are ready to help you throughout the session. So, why wait? Give them a call today and get the best professional headshots you want, including those amazing commercial headshots!


Stay in the loop

Subscribe to our free newsletter.

Related Articles