How To PICK Your New Headshots

Okay! So you’ve had a successful headshot shoot. Hooray! Congratulations! You did it and you’ve celebrated all the hard and fun work you put into having a wonderful headshot shoot experience.

So, now what?

Depending on the photographer you’ve shot with, the length of time you spent shooting with them, the number of characters you shot, etc., you could end up with anywhere from hundreds of shots to choose from to over a thousand to choose from.

For a lot of actors, this is an agonizing process. How do I choose my favorite shots out of hundreds? Out of thousands? YIKES! YIKES! YIKES! The horror! The stress! Bite your fingernails, tear your hair out, run to a corner and sob violently!

“Not today, Satan, not today!” (Thank you Bianca Del Rio for creating that phrase!)

Actually, this process doesn’t have to be agonizing or painful. It doesn’t have to consume weeks of your life. Choosing your favorite shots can be a very easy process.

I want to share with you my process for how I made my final selects from the headshots I took on February 25th.

1) I go through each photo with a forward and intentional pace. I don’t linger on each photo for five minutes. Move with intention because the photos will either hit me on a gut level or not. Our instincts are incredibly powerful. We know what we know. A photo either hits me or it doesn’t. Those that hit me, I move them over to a new folder. I continue this process until I get to the last photo. Once I get to the last photo, see number 2.

2) I repeat the process to see if there are any other possible photos that hit me on a gut level.

3) I go to the new folder and call it “Selects”. I then go through each photo a little more carefully and make note of things that would disqualify the photo from making it into my final selects. For example, is the photo blurry? Do my eyes look a little dead in the photo? Is there a shadow across my face that maybe can’t be fixed in Photoshop? Am I blown out? I go through this folder to examine mistakes.

4) I weed out the photos that contain mistakes and I’m left with 56 photos in the “Selects” folder (By the way, we shot a total of 463 photos.) I go through the 56 photos to start narrowing down my personal favorites. I look at the subtext of my characters. I look for a secret in the characters’ eyes. Whenever I choose a favorite photo, I tag them (I work on a Mac, so I right click on the photo file name and choose “Tags”. Then, I choose a color to go next to the file name. I chose red.) The photos I don’t tag as my personal favorites are still kept in the “Selects” folder because they are still strong contenders and I want to have options to present to my community and to my agent. They may see something I don’t see. Once I’ve tagged my personal favorites, see number 5.

5) I present these 56 photos to my small group of classmates (These are people I trust and respect.) It’s important not to have too many cooks in the kitchen because you will only become confused!!! So find a handful of people you trust to share your photos with. When I presented my photos and went through each one, I took note of the photos that received the biggest reactions. If my community was responding powerfully to certain photos, then those were keepers and I later tagged them in red as well (and it was nice to see that my class and I matched on several photos I already tagged.)

Now, for the photos I already tagged as a personal favorite, but didn’t receive as big of a reaction as others, I looked them over to see why they didn’t impinge my classmates. I ended up removing 4 personal favorites from the “Selects” folder. So now, I have 52 photos left in this folder. Again, some are tagged as my personal favorites, while the rest are un-tagged photos that are still strong contenders.

6) I sent the 52 photos to my agent to see which ones he liked. When he emailed me his list of favorites, I tagged them in a different color. I chose blue. And it was great to see that he and I matched on several photos. He also chose a few photos that I didn’t tag as a personal favorite. However, I took those photos into consideration because his job is to field the entertainment market place 24/7. He knows what’s out there. He knows what’s selling and what’s being bought. I want this to be a collaboration between the two of us and include his picks as well.

7) The photos where he and I matched (Red and blue tags) were definite keepers. For the photos where he and I didn’t match, I chose a few photos that had a blue tag (his personal favorites) and a few photos that had a red tag (my personal favorites) In this way, I’m including both of our personal favorites and respecting both of our opinions. I create a final folder called “Winners” and put these final photos in it.

And that’s it! A pretty easy, painless process!

I have 20 photos that I will upload across Actors Access, LA Casting, IMDB, etc.

Let the new chapter of submissions begin!

See you all later!

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