What is a HEADSHOT?
It's a TOOL that gets you work!
A headshot is much more than just a picture of your head. Your HS needs to look EXACTLY like you, so that Casting Directors (CD's) can see what they are getting. Dark, moody shots that don't clearly show your appearance will make a CD wonder what you're hiding. Your HS must be an accurate likeness that clearly shows anything important about you. Don't hide scars, tattoos, birthmarks, odd features, different hair styles … or anything else that could surprise a CD when they call you in. CD's don't like surprises!
But a good HS is more than just the identity pictures used on drivers' licenses and passports. In addition to showing what you look like, a good HS has a spark of life; it grabs attention and holds on.
HS's were once used only by actors. They were essentially the actor's calling card which he or she would leave behind at auditions. Yes, it looks like them, but more importantly it also shows their sparkling personality, their joy of life, the "it" that every casting agent needs because every adoring fan wants to see it.
In today's world HS's are not just for actors. Now, everyone needs good profile pictures, for social media and business. Actors still have fans and casting agents to impress, but we all everyday have need for the "it" picture that brings in customers, gets the job, or goes viral.
A good HS must show CONFIDENCE and APPROACHABILITY. If your HS makes you seem both confident and approachable, you will get what you're after! A good HS is your best tool for opening doors and getting work.
How long does it take to get a headshot? Identity pictures can be taken in seconds, but you should expect a good headshot session to take 1 to 3 hours, on average. (Plus, a good photographer typically spends another 2 to 4 hours editing and retouching the pictures.)
What is a PORTRAIT?
It's a PICTURE that you'd hang on your wall
Generally, a portrait shows more than a headshot. Perhaps literally, as in a portrait may show more of one's body. But more importantly, a portrait shows more of a person's walk in life. For instance, a headshot may show a rugged man, his face lined with scars, and his eyes sparkling with a spirit that can't be quenched. It may be a great headshot, one that catches attention and is hard to look away from. But the portrait of that same man may hint at why he is rugged: he is a firefighter in uniform, holding a smoked-charred ax, wearing a dented helmet that clearly saved his bacon repeatedly.
Headshots show who we are; portraits show why we are.
Planning a portrait may take a long time, and portraits are often done in a person's own familiar setting, with whatever makes them "them".