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How to Get a Good Headshot, Part 4: Make-up and Hair

You got the audition! Maybe you’ve had days to prepare. Maybe you heard about the audition just hours ago. What matters is you’re there, looking like your headshot that got casting’s attention. Your headshot is your first opportunity to make an impression. Reinforce it by ensuring your headshot looks like you any day of the week. How? The fourth tip for how to get a good head shot from Ms. Mae, owner of 3-2-1- Acting School in Los Angeles is your make-up and hair choices. Take a look!


Casting Directors want you to be the one they’re looking for. They want to make that connection with you. They’re hoping you’re going to bring exactly what they’re looking for through that audition door.

Remember, you are invited to be there at your audition. And that invitation almost always begins with what the Casting Director sees in your headshot. Imagine their anticipation and eagerness to see the face, body, attitude and personality they’re expecting from that headshot come walking in to perform and blow them away.

Make sure your hair and make-up choices build the Casting Director’ s hopes and expectations that your in-person appearance fulfills.  In short, be yourself, even in your headshots!  In my acting school for kids in Los Angeles, I remind my students the greatest edge they have in any audition is their unique selves.  No-one can bring your unique personality or look!  Let your unique personality show!

However skilled you are in doing make-up yourself, it is best to hire a professional make-up artist who specializes in make-up for headshot photography for your photo shoot. Why? Because like all things camera-related, getting good headshots is part artistry and part technical skill. When you’re in the midst of your photo shoot, your full attention should be on working with your team to pull the best out of you so the camera can see it. Someone else should be watching you with a technical eye for make-up needs. Shine, blemishes, color choices, lighting and costume choices can all change what make-up strategy is best for your shoot. And every time you change wardrobe, lighting, or position, your make-up and hair should be reviewed by a knowing eye to keep you looking like your best self.

Hiring a make-up artist is a good idea for men as well as women. Even if you don’t normally wear make-up, remember your photo shoot is not about how you look in the mirror. Good photos are about what the camera sees, and a tight lens can sometimes see more than you might think. Men are as subject to small blemishes, shine, and imperfections in skin that may be perfectly fine most of the time but could distract depending on the closeness and camera angle of a particular shot. If you’re ready to invest in a headshot photo shoot, make sure you get the excellence you deserve by giving yourself the proper professional support.

Generally, headshot make-up should look natural. You should look great, yet not make-uppy. This is true for children, teens and adults. Natural-looking make-up lets casting see you in your “best-self” flattering light, color and angle, but it’s still what you’ll look like with only an hour’s notice at your next audition. Casting Directors are constantly imagining what different actors will be like in the role they need. Give them the tools to do that with an accurate view of you.

Like your make-up, your hair should complement your efforts to get a good headshot. Like the roles you practice in your acting classes for kids or teens, you may want to play several roles or types within your headshot photo shoot.  Feel free to try several styles, especially if you want to get a range of types in your photo shoot.  Select those styles for their simplicity and ease, so you can re-create that look quickly for your next audition or callback.

Whether you’re auditioning yourself or running your child from their acting classes in Los Angeles across town for a quick audition, looking like your headshot at a moments notice will help with all your auditions.  Get a good headshot and live up to its promise with thoughtful choices and pre-shoot planning.  These savvy make-up and hair tips will help you fulfill the casting directors’ expectations every time they call you in.





Hi there. I’m Ms. Mae Ross. Welcome to 3-2-1- Acting Studios in Los Angeles. You’re at Top Hollywood Acting Coach dot com, and today we’re talking about how to get a good headshot.

[Title Card: How to get a good headshot, Part 4: Make-up and Hair. Make-up.]

Okay, for your make-up, you want to keep it very natural for the actor. You want to look like your everyday self. So this girl has makeup on, however she doesn’t look like she has make-up on, and that’s the kind of make-up you want. Taylor does have make-up on but he doesn’t look like it. So, hire that make-up artist that knows how to make you look natural and look like your everyday self.

Make-up: Natural. Everyday you. Hire a professional make-up artist.

[Title Card: How to get a good headshot, Part 4: Make-up and Hair. Hair.]

In terms of hairstyles, you want to keep them simple. You can do a couple of braids if you want, particularly if you’re young. You want to walk in and look like your pictures. If you have curly hair and you straighten it before your photo shoot, you’re not going to be able to have time to straighten it for a quick audition. So, it’s best to always have your hair style like your everyday hair style.

Hair: Natural. Quick. Everyday you.

So if you know your type and you can do a little glamorous look, then by all means go ahead. It has a little glamour to it, but it’s not overly done. Also, headshots can be horizontal, not always vertical.

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