Updated: Aug 11, 2021
1. Communicate with your reps
If you have an agent or manager, this step is huge! Here are some super specific things you can ask your reps:
- Do you like studio or outdoor shots?
- Do you like solid color backdrops, something more industrial, or out of focus/ambiguous?
- Do you prefer shots that are framed horizontally or vertically?
- What kind of roles have you been submitting me for?
- What types/looks do you want me to make sure I have for my shoot?
We'll get into those last two more in the next step! I'm always surprised by actors who don't check in with their reps before the shoot, which will only lead to issues afterward. I've had clients get in touch with me after our shoot and say things like, "It turns out my manager wanted shots with solid color backdrops," or "My agent only likes horizontal shots." Inevitably, they'll ask if I can change the background or framing in Photoshop, and the short answer is maybe, but it likely won't look right. We really need to know those things beforehand.
2. Identify your type
Get specific with this step! "Mom" is a good type, but "young, frazzled but happy mom" is better. If you have reps, their input is the most important in identifying your type. If you don't have an agent or manager, ask your friends who are in the industry. Try to come up with 4-6 different very specific types you would go in for. We all probably have a main type, sure, but it's helpful to have shots that convey different types if you're submitting for a really specific role on the breakdowns.
3. Select your looks
Finally, select a couple looks for each of the types you came up with. By "look," I mean clothes, hair, and makeup. It's nice to come in with a couple possibilities for each type, just in case a shirt that you've planned on doesn't photograph well on camera. I've had clients come in with just a couple t-shirts in different colors…not super helpful. Here's an example of how detailed you can get in planning your looks (remember that the tops/shirts are what's really important, as we're not likely to see what you're wearing on the bottom):
- Type: Young, frazzled but happy mom. Look: cardigan over gingham button down. Simple makeup, hair down and straight.
- Type: CEO of an internet startup. Look: navy blazer over printed blouse. Add darker lipstick to makeup, hair back in low bun.
- Type: Rookie detective with a chip on her shoulder. Look: Leather jacket over dark t-shirt. Simple makeup, hair back in low ponytail.
- Type: Vixen with a dark secret. Look: Low cut wrap dress. Glamorous makeup, hair down and curled.
Men can get just as specific with their fashion choices, and they also have the added option of facial hair. Shaving in the middle of a session can be a great way to change up your look. Don't be afraid to come in with a full beard, do a look or two like that, then buzz down to a stubble for a look, then shave for another look.
Check out my client Tonja below, who did a great job of choosing specific looks that show off her different types:
And I'll leave you with one more thought: hiring a makeup artist is a huge help, especially for women. I know it's not in everyone's budget, but as you can imagine with step three, they can be instrumental in helping you during your shoot.
Feel free to contact me with any questions about the above! I'm always happy to chat.