When it comes to casting for a modeling or acting role, one of the most important ways to increase your chances of being selected is having a high-quality headshot that portrays you in the best light possible. However, taking professional headshots isn’t always easy – especially for children and teenagers who will be auditioning for the first time. Whether you’re new to casting or simply want to ensure that you are putting your best foot forward, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of these tips and tricks when taking headshots.
While most professional photographers should have no problem taking exceptional headshots for teenagers and adults, finding the right photographer when photographing children is especially important. Working with kids can be difficult, and hiring a photographer with experience working with young children in front of a camera will guarantee the best results. Some children will have trouble staying still, while others will have a hard time staying awake. A great photographer will recognize how to keep your child engaged, and how to capture your child’s unique personality and beauty in the most professional manner possible.
A headshot is more than simply a face with a smile, it conveys who you are and should give a casting agent a glimpse into your personality. When taking headshots for your child, make sure the photographer is capturing natural expressions, not just adorable toothy grins. The photo should be engaging with as little distraction as possible. This is also why it is especially important to choose the right outfit.
When choosing clothing, simplicity is key. Avoid distracting prints or patterns that may detract from the overall image you are trying to portray. Certain colors will suit children better than others, and finding colors that work well with your child’s eyes and natural blush will help highlight their best features. Avoid shirts with buttons and outfits with frills, as they are also distracting to the eye. For this reason, bringing multiple, solid-colored shirts is a great way to come prepared. Possibly the most important tip when it comes to outfits however is to make sure that you bring clothes that your child will feel confident in and will enjoy wearing.
Keep in mind, headshots are generally unnecessary for children under 5 years of age as they will continue to grow more so than other age groups. Simple snapshots are often enough for most casting roles.
While a photographer may have the all the resources necessary for taking the most professional-looking headshots, hiring one can be taxing and expensive – especially if your child is under 5 and changing quickly. Luckily, there are a few ways to take quality headshots on your own for a fraction of the cost.
The first (and most important) thing to have is a decent camera. Although this would have meant spending a pretty penny in the past, many cheap cameras now will produce photos of exceptional quality with little to no tweaking. Just make sure that the quality is preserved as photos are enlarged and printed. The next step is to find a place with a clean backdrop. This can be as simple as hanging a white sheet against a wall. Perhaps the hardest thing to set up is the lighting. Direct sunlight is harsh – try covering windows with sheets and make sure any artificial lighting is bright enough to show off your face, but soft enough as to not create any dark shadows. One or two mid-sized lamps a few feet away from one’s face should give a favorable look.
To ensure consistency between shots during long sessions, investing in a tripod may be useful not only for headshots but also for any other professional photos you may wish to take in the future.
Most of All, Have Fun!
Taking pictures should be fun! No matter one’s age, taking headshots should be enjoyable and feel natural. Communicating with the photographer and keeping your child engaged are essential for taking headshots that shine, as well as for being the most efficient with your time.
Put on some music, laugh a little, and have fun – because the best headshots will always be the ones taken when you’re feeling the best.
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