Question: What makes a good headshot?


Answer Several years ago, in an effort to answer this question, I was given the opportunity to meet with directors, bookers and agents of four of the largest acting/commercial agencies in Los Angeles. The experience of these agencies, Innovative Artists, LW1 (now Aperture), L.A. Models and the Ford Agency, made them extremely qualified to give me the criteria for what they felt makes a great headshot. Throughout the conversations, they made it clear to me that there were five criteria  any headshot photographer should keep in mind while shooting:
1. Understanding, at the start, how important a headshot is for an actor or model
2. Great overall lighting – whether natural or artificial
3. The phrase “Make the eyes pop” to show energy was used in every discussion
4. Never try to make someone look like someone they are not.
5. Minimize distractions in the photos by blurring backgrounds, minimizing make-up,
    jewelry and busy clothing.


When these criteria are met the result will be a great headshot.


Special thanks to the following for their insight and advice:
Kim Byrd Innovative Artists, Commercial Division
Robert Haas Innovative Artists, Talent Agent
Sean Robinson L.A. Talent agent and Former Director of LW1 Los Angeles