Tips on getting great headshots

Your headshot is just as – or perhaps even more important than – your resume. It can be a casting team’s first impression of you and how they’ll remember you after you leave the audition. Dancers typically have their headshots from the shoulders or waist up. You can have a full-body dance shot on the top of your resume, but your headshot should focus on your face and unique personality. Agents usually recommend at least two “looks”—a more commercial headshot (smiling, bright tank or T-shirt) and an edgier look for certain theatrical or “legit” jobs (less “Disney”/a bit more intense and mature).

Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind when you’re getting your headshots taken:

Look like YOU! This one sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many dancers don’t look like their headshots. Make sure your hair is a similar color, length, and style as you wear it in the audition room. Don’t go overboard with make-up or retouching—especially when you’re a kid/teen, natural is better.

Invest in a good photographer. Your mom or best friend might be good at taking selfies on your iPhone, but a professional photographer will understand lighting, angles, and simple retouching to make your shots look ‘profesh.’

Keep it simple. Your headshot is all about you—your face, eyes, smile, and personality. Don’t let crazy patterns, logos, or jewelry distract from the essence of your photo.

Bring options. Dancers often work well with photographers because we are so good at taking direction. You might have time to change into a different top or change up your hair or makeup look to get a variety of photo options out of your shoot.

Present it right. Headshots (and resumes) should include your full name in a legible font, be cut 8×10 inches, and stapled together in the upper corners.

We know that getting new headshots can be a big investment, but they represent you even after you leave the audition room—so make sure you’re proud of them. It’s a good idea to get new headshots taken every year or two so your shots don’t look like you’re a little kid when you’re really in high school!