HEADSHOTS FOR DANCERS: A Portfolio That Will Get You Booked
Are you a student at a performing school, freelance dancer or actor? Have you been wondering what the secret sauce for getting more jobs is?
Great HEADSHOTS. It’s so simple!
Yet so many performers neglect this crucial element to take their image to a more professional level. Because you’re here reading this post you’re probably aware that great shots in your portfolio are a game changer during auditions and castings.
Let’s discuss what is it that makes a perfect headshot.
A PERFECT HEADSHOT COMMUNICATES YOUR PERSONALITY AND WHAT YOU BRING
Think about YOU for a minute. Think of how unique YOU and your STYLE are. That is the essence of a perfect portrait. It should capture you charm and personality and still look like you. If it’s just a nice photo of you, and it doesn’t convey who you really are, that’s not a great headshot, and let’s be honest, It won’t land you a dream job.
The focus will be on your face. So try to avoid distracting jewellery or excessive makeup. The casting team needs to be able to envision you when looking at your photo; it’s the only physical reminder of you they have long after your audition.
Keep it natural! Casting directors want to see the REAL YOU in order to imagine you in a range of roles. The more authentic the image is, the more your chances are of getting the job.
Do poses that feel good, it will keep your expressions natural and you will feel more relaxed in general which is very important for a overall authenticity of your headshot.
While striking dramatic poses and theatrical expressions can be good for a performance shot, they won’t do you any good for a commercial headshot.
And the last one… It can be very tempting to ask your photographer to photoshop out every single freckle or mole from your face, but please don’t. Heavy retouch will just make you look artificial. You need to look like you otherwise the sincerity of a photograph is lost.
If you want to book a wide range of gigs, you need to have a wide range of looks. It’s that simple! A clean commercial shot, an edgy performance shot, a fitness shot… Variety in your headshots will open more doors for a variety of opportunities.
However, at the very least you want to have 2 SHOTS: COMMERCIAL HEADSHOT and a FULL-BODY (non-dance) PORTRAIT.
WHAT TO WEAR
Choose form-fitting outfits that compliment your figure.
Make sure that the looks you’re after look great on camera. Sometimes what looks good in real life doesn’t work the same on the pictures. It can be very helpful to speak to fellow performers or industry professionals.
Also, try to keep clear of big brand logos in your outfit, stay neutral and you’ll appeal to more companies.
HAIR and MAKE-UP
Don’t forget about these two. These are as crucial as what you’re wearing. If your budget allows you so hire professionals to help you look your best.
HAIR: It’s always good to have a few options depending on a job you’re applying for. Consider having headshots with both, up-do as well as hair down option.
MAKE-UP: Earlier we spoke about a natural look being the BEST option for headshots, however, for your dance portrait/movement shot change it up to make it more visible.
It’s very similar to stage make-up: you are so far from the audience, but they still should be able to see your facial expressions. Try not to go over the top with it, as the casting directors still need to recognise you; just make sure your features are clear and visible enough on your dance portrait.
KNOW YOUR GOALS:
What jobs you wish to get booked for? Is it a music video, ad campaign or a theatre play?
Do your research in advance and come to the photoshoot with a clear vision of how your portfolio should look like. You need to be certain on what kind of shots you’re gonna need for specific jobs.
So now, when you’re all ready with the knowledge of WHAT you need for your DREAM job, work as a team with your photographer. Ask for an advice on your hair/makeup or if the pose you’re trying to hold is flattering enough.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on your headshots, but if you want to be taken seriously you need to invest in your professional image.
The prices can range from about £100 to whopping £400 depending on your wishes as well as location in the U.K.
That’s the last stage of your preparation. Whoohoo!
Now you know the big WHY you’re doing all this. At this point your biggest duty is to make sure you look your very best on the day of the photo session.
As simple as it sounds, take care of your skin, your hair. Good night sleep before the shoot is crucial. Don’t forget about food before the spotlight, but keep it healthy and light. You don’t want to feel bloated or weak in front of the camera, so try to find the balance.
And the last one, not the least, MAKE SURE YOU’RE HAPPY with the results you see. If there’s something you’re not entirely happy with, SAY IT!
Don’t be quiet and shy.
IT’S YOUR TIME, IT’S YOUR MONEY, AND IT’S YOUR PROFESSIONAL IMAGE!