Types of Headshots (Commercial vs. Theatrical)

8300574There are two different types of headshots, especially when it comes to the acting industry. These are commercial and theatrical. Why have two different headshots? And are there actually real differences between what is expected for these two different types of headshots? An actor might have a different agent for commercials than he has for acting. These agents will be looking for different things and sending the actor out on different types of calls, where those casting directors will also be looking for different things.


Commercial Headshots

These are headshots that actors who are looking to star in commercials or who are often sent out to read for commercials will want to have printed. They are designed for helping you get your foot in the door with commercial casting directors, who are notoriously picky. A casting director is looking for someone who looks warm and friendly. Remember, commercials are all about marketing products. They want the people to be relatable, so the viewers will connect with the actor and want to buy what that actor is promoting.

Headshots for this type of work are usually smiling, and shot from a more relaxed angle and in more relaxed clothing. While the commercial itself might require the actor to play a totally different character, a friendly picture is what these casting directors are looking for. Soft colors and more natural makeup are usually best for making the impression you want to make.


Theatrical Headshots

On the other end of the spectrum are theatrical headshots. Even if you are auditioning for a comedic role, casting directors are usually looking for a headshot that portrays the actor more seriously. Why? Because these directors are looking for someone that they can rely on. They want someone responsible—someone that looks professional, even if they are just starting off in the business. While you are still marketing yourself using these headshots, you are marketing yourself as a smart and capable actor, rather than as just a likeable and friendly person.

Darker colors in background and clothing, as well as a more serious or neutral expression is common. These pictures will usually have a more direct angle, which shows off the face. While casual clothes are still appropriate, they should, in general, be slightly dressier than what is worn in your commercial headshots.


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Jack Saady Jack Saady is a photographer specializing in headshot photography. He realizes that when it comes to a headshot it is like putting yourself out there for everybody to see. Your career depends on it. Getting your personality to come through is probably one of the most important things to do, also one of the hardest. As a photographer he feels it is his responsibility to capture the essence of a person allowing potential casting directors to see what it is that makes you unique. We all know that the competition is fierce. His photographs are not about him or his style, but about his subjects and the unique qualities and conditions that define their lives at the time they are photographed. http://www.jacksaadyheadshots.com/

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