actor headshots

How to Get Great Kid's Acting Headshots!

Getting great headshots for your young star

I love working with actors and really enjoy working with kids who want to be actors too! And when it comes to getting noticed, publicity headshots are just as important for children as they are for adults. So here are a few tips on getting great kid headshots for your young star.

Do I really need professional headshots for my child?

Yes. Headshots are a great investment if you and your kid are serious about acting or print work. As adorable as dad's cell phone image of little Madison is, it may not get you a call back from a manager. Professional headshots show your dedication to your child's career. And, expect your kid's experienced competition did not submit a headshot taken by dad. Bottom line: Don't skimp. To that end, I'd recommend that children under the age of 18 get a new headshot every six months. “Every six months to 12 months” I hear you moaning “this is going to cost me a fortune?” No, not really. I offer a substantial discount when your child returns for headshot updates within a specified time. My offer: a 40% discount. That's not so bad now, is it?



What should my kid wear to a photo session?

Your child's wardrobe should include a variety of shirts, pants, skirts, and dresses in solid colors only. No busy prints, stripes or patterns of any kind. Outfits should be free of advertisements or logos for The Avengers or Frozen or anything else. The idea behind the headshot is to emphasize your child's adorable face and sparkling personality, not to endorse multimillion corporations—at least not until your kid gets paid to do so! Also, leave the frilly dresses and little boy suits at home. Managers and agents just want to see a kid looking like a kid! If you need some wardrobe ideas check out my Pinterest page here.

acting headshots for kids

acting headshots for kids

How long does a headshot session take and how do we prepare?

A typical session lasts from one hour to 90 minutes, depending on the child's age and the number of outfits to be worn during the shoot. As to be expected, children under five can only be animated and perky for so long (come to think of it, that's true of my 22-year-old!) I schedule headshot sessions between 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. daily. So, if you know your 5-year-old shuts down after lunch, schedule your session in the morning. Bring a little snack and water too. But please, no, no, NO sugar before your session! We all remember Jake after having three Mountain Dews at the Renaissance Festival. It's was not pretty. And since teenagers need more sleep than anyone it is critical that they GO TO BED EARLY the night before the session. See my emphasis? I have a teenager who keeps the hours of a bat, especially in the summer! And no one likes a crabby teen.

How do I even choose a photographer?

The answer is easy! Pick me, pick me, pick me! Seriously. It's important to find someone who actually likes kids and specializes in headshots. When you're going down your list of professionals just ask if they like working with children. If they hesitate, move on. You'll want a photographer who is patient, able to give gentle direction and who'll help your child feel at ease. Your photographer needs to know the difference between a “theatrical” headshot and a“commercial” one and what images work best. Don't wait until you are in the studio to ask these important questions. You'll be wasting money when you could have hired a pro from the start. Remember, if you and your child are serious about the business, you'll want to establish a good, lasting relationship with your photographer. You just never know. Your little darling really could get to Hollywood or Broadway. They'll need new headshots wherever they go. My bags are already packed!

Want to read more about kid's acting?  Check out these other posts:

Headshots for Performance Arts Majors

Kid's Acting Headshots: Makeup or Not?

Ready to schedule a session? Click here! Or just want to chat? Call me at 443.840.0484 or email me.

FAQ's About Your Headshot Session

How do I book a headshot session with you?

You can do this a couple of ways. The easiest is to click here. It will take you to an online scheduler where you can easily select the service, date and time convenient for you.  You’ll also be asked to make a deposit. The deposit is refundable—if you cancel 48 hours before your session.

If you’re not quite ready to book your session and have additional questions, please call or text me at 443.840.0484. I’d love to chat with you!

What should I wear? Of course it depends on whether you’re getting actor headshots, business headshots or online dating portraits but here are some suggestions to cover it all.

Ladies: A simple boat or v-neck style looks elegant and casual on just about everyone, no matter your size or shape. For a business headshot be sure to bring a nice fitting jacket and any understated jewelry you might like to wear. Even if you don't wear makeup in your everyday life, it's best to put a little on for the photo shoot. Without makeup, you will look tired and worn out.

Gentleman: I suggest jeans/casual pants and crew or turtleneck shirts in muted colors like gray, navy or brown. Long-sleeved goes without saying unless you're really buff!  Also, a knit sweater with no pattern in small knit will also look good. And if you have a nice suit or outdoor or dress jacket, bring it along too.

Everyone Please avoid loud patterns, stripes, logos or “messages”, wrinkled and ill-fitting clothing. If you're still not sure what to wear call me and check my Pinterest page for some examples.

How long does a typical photo session take? A two to three outfit shoot should take about an hour. While you're changing into your different outfits I'll change lighting set-ups and/or backgrounds. This will give you a variety of images to choose from.

What exactly do I get for your fee? Depending on your package and service we’ll be taking anywhere from 20 to 100 images or even more. I'll then post your proofs anywhere from 5 to 40 images on-line in your own personal gallery to review within 48 hours of our session, usually sooner. Choose your favorite(s) to retouch and after they are complete you can download your hi-resolution digital images to your computer or flash drive.

Where are you located? My home studio is located in Columbia, Maryland, not far from the Route 32 and I-95.

I am so looking forward to working with you!



So Your Kid Wants to Be An Actor!

After the new year, I decided to take a closer look at my customers over for the last several years. I was astonished to find that almost 60% of my actor headshot clients are kids! I guess I hadn’t realized this before since most of them are between the ages of 14 and 21. And because they're usually a bit more confident and outgoing, I never felt that I was really photographing a child. Don’t get me wrong! Children are not bad to work with. I have two of my own, who I love dearly and pretty much forced them to pose for me so that I could practice my photography long ago. They’re all grown up now and assure me that they are not damaged psychologically!

I ’ve worked closely with their parents too. Every parent I’ve met and most of the kids realize that acting is a business endeavor and take their work pretty seriously.

Does this sound like you and your child? Is your family committed to the rigors of auditioning and performing and confident in their ability to weather the ups and downs?

acting headshots for kids in maryland

acting headshots for kids in maryland

Here are a few resources that might give you some answers:

If you haven't been on the Backstage website Check it out. It's a great place to find a plethora of articles on child acting. Look specifically at the section called “bkids.

And just as important as learning about the business of acting, there are also classes and workshops in the area to learn how to act!

The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts

Drama Learning Center

Imagination Stage

Want more information on what to expect at your child’s acting headshot session? Check out these blog posts.

How to Get Great Kid’s Acting Headshots

Kid and Teen Headshots: What to Wear

Kid's Acting Headshots: Makeup or Not?

Good Luck and hope the babies "break a leg!"

Kid and Teen Headshots: What to Wear

Kid and Teen Headshots: What to Wear

If your child or teen is interested in acting, they've probably been bugging you, Mom or Dad, for some headshots. Headshots can be pricey and you want to get them right, the first time. After all, both you and your little darling need this investment to pay off! Am I right? One way to make sure that your kid's headshots get noticed is to be sure clothing choices complement your child's hair, complexion, and unique personality. Here are a few guidelines:

Stay away from patterns, stripes, slogans, and logos. It's very hard to find clothes (especially for the little ones!) that don't have some crazy, bold flower print, movie character or pithy saying. So if you must do a non-solid color, here's the right way.

I love bright colors and they work so well on littler kids. Target and Walmart are great places to find inexpensive, solid colored shirts. However, if you're not finding tops without stripes or patterns, try layering. Morgan is rock'in her bold, pink and white blouse with a matching, solid colored sweater. It's not at all distracting from her beautiful smile!

Carly looks fresh and pretty in her aquamarine top. If your child has blue or green eyes, they'll look best in colors that complement and/or match their eyes. Think of the colors of the sea. By the way, the color plum looks great on just about everyone!

Derek has light brown eyes and reddish hair. He looks great in dark gray, don't you think? A quick way to find out your child's (or your own) skin tone, is to look at the veins on the underside of your wrist. If they look blue or purple you are a "cool tone." If the veins are green or yellowish, then you are a "warm tone." I didn't check Derek's wrist for a clue, but we decided that he was indeed "cool" and colors like grey and navy, as well as black and white look great on him.

So, if you're still in doubt, check my Pinterest page here for more ideas and bring lots of clothing choices to your child's headshot session! We'll figure it when you get here:))



Getting Your Best Actor Headshot Ever!

Few things seem to strike more fear into an actor than the dreaded headshot. If you have been acting for some time, you've probably been less than satisfied with at least one set of headshots or the photographer who took them. Perhaps the lighting was a bit too dramatic. Maybe your makeup was too heavy or too light or your outfit just wasn't right for the types of roles you'd like.  Maybe the images were OK back when only black-and-white headshots were acceptable. But now they look really dated. Maybe you continue to use them anyway because you had 500 printed. "Oh, well, they'll just have to do,” you tell yourself. Sound familiar? Or, you're just starting your career and you've heard all the headshot horror stories from friends in your acting class. You've been told the only way to get a professional headshot is to go to New York and spend a small fortune. You don't have a small fortune. So you decide you'll have your sister's boyfriend take your “professional” headshot. After all, he took some really good pictures of the family's Grand Canyon trip last year. How hard could it be? The pictures will be fine, you say. Guess what? They probably won't.

Here are a few tips for getting your actor headshot right the first time and feeling good about the experience.

Find the right photographer for you. One of the best ways to research a headshot photographer is—you guessed it—browsing their website! Answering the following questions before you book your session will easily narrow down your choices.

  • Does the photographer even do headshots? If so, how long has he or she been working with actors?

  • Are there actor headshot examples on the website? Are all the images similar, or is there a variety of poses and styles? Do the actors look comfortable and approachable?

  • What is a typical photo session like? How long does it last? What are the actor's responsibilities?

  • How much is a session and what do you get? Actor headshot costs vary widely, from $200 to over $1,000. The old adage that you get what you pay for certainly applies here. But there's no reason to break the bank either. It's more important to consider what you can afford and your ability to work with the photographer to get exactly what you want.

Assuming all your questions have been answered, it's now time to pick up the phone or send a detailed email. Note how long it takes for the photographer to call back or send a personal email response. You should get your potential photographer's attention within about 24 hours. Now that all your basic questions have been answered, be sure to tell the photographer about yourself and your acting plans. Ideally, they would have already asked you, thus demonstrating interest in your career and knowledge of the industry. Do some soul-searching, if you haven't already, about the kinds of roles you really want and what you've already been cast in.

Ask the photographer how you might portray those characters in your headshots. Does he or she have any thoughts on this? The answer may give you exactly what you'll need to make your determination. OK. The price is right. You've booked your session. Now what?

What should I wear? There's only one rule that should never be broken when it comes to your headshot session wardrobe.  You must keep it simple! Your clothing should be understated. For guys, that means jeans or other casual pants, crew-neck tees or turtleneck shirts and a light jacket or sweater. A business suit with dress shirt and tie is also a safe bet. The idea is to keep your wardrobe from competing with your unique look. No stripes, no patterns, and never any logos. (I once turned a client's shirt inside out and backwards, so as to hide the logo of a local brewery!) My approach is to suggest, depending on their complexion, that clients wear muted  colors like gray, navy, or brown. If you're fair, you'll  probably look great in navy or another darker hue. Dark-skinned complexions look vibrant in lighter tones, dissimilar to skin tone and hair color. Unless you're really buff and going for a cop or tough-guy role, stick with long sleeves. For women, simple boatneck or v-neck shirt styles convey a polished look on everyone, no matter your size or shape. Jeans never go out of style; however, bring along a daytime outfit like a business suit or jacket that you'd wear to impress! The idea is to be comfortable with yourself and the way you look.  By bringing 3–5 outfits, you and your photographer will have plenty of looks to choose from. Color rules are the same for women, muted and complementary to your complexion. Again, avoid loud patterns, stripes, logos, or "messages." You are the message, not your outfit!


Should I hire a makeup artist? That depends. I have many beautiful images of clients that didn't use a makeup artist. I would consider them quite skilled at makeup application. If, however, you're like me and wear what takes under five minutes to apply, know nothing about foundation, and have been wearing the same lipstick color for 15 years, I would recommend a professional!  Men should also consider a makeup pro if plagued with uneven skin tone or dark undereye circles.  A good makeup artist will charge a minimum of $200 per session. For an additional fee, some pros will even assist with hair styling.

Success means always thinking ahead! Throughout your long and successful acting career, you'll need headshots more than once, so establishing a solid, trusting, long-term relationship with a photographer will be an absolute bonus. Your actor headshot is far too important to leave to chance. A great headshot doesn't guarantee that you'll get the part, but it sure gets you in the door.