top of page

The Importance of Headshots and Self-Tapes for Actors - Insights from a Talent Agent

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

Getting quality headshots and submitting strong self-tapes are crucial for actors trying to land roles and book jobs. I recently had the opportunity to interview Thomas Philip, a talent agent at Dry Blue Agency in London, to get his expert insights on these important topics for aspiring actors.s

The Importance of Professional Headshots

Headshot of the actor Frankie Clarence. He is wearing a white T-Shirt and looking directly at the camera.
Frankie Clarence

One of the key takeaways from my discussion with Thomas was just how important it is for actors to invest in high-quality, professional headshots. As he explained, "Especially for an actor that is just about to embark on this journey, proper, professional, sharp headshots are pivotal." He shared stories of actors who struggled to get any auditions or bookings until they upgraded their headshots per his agency's recommendations - and then immediately started seeing major improvements.

So what should actors look for in a headshot photographer? Thomas emphasized finding someone who can capture what makes you unique as a performer. "A good photographer will be able to find what makes that person special," he said. He also warned against cheap photographers who rush through sessions, as well as overly retouched headshots that look fake. The goal is headshots that authentically reflect you at your best.

As headshot photographers in North London, we specialize in capturing authentic, professional headshots that bring out actors' unique essence and help them land coveted roles.

"A professional headshot is the most important marketing tool an actor has in their arsenal." – Casting Director Jane Doe

The Angle Debate: Head and Shoulders vs. Full Body

There's some debate around whether actors should stick to classic head and shoulders shots or incorporate some full-body images. Thomas said while they focus on head and shoulder shots at his agency, he understands some casting directors like having the option to see full body shots as well.

His advice was that actors focus on nailing the traditional headshot first and foremost. "Ultimately a casting director I feel and also major productions and directors will always lean towards the head and shoulders, your face," he explained. But having a few full-body shots on hand couldn't hurt.

At our PIC852 Photography, we provide actors with a range of headshot looks - both head and shoulders as well as full body options - to meet all needs.

Outdoor Headshot of the actress Vida Car. She has red hair and wearing a light blue jumper. She is looking straight at the camera.
Vida Car

The Importance of a Quality Reader for Self-Tapes

We also discussed the importance of having a strong scene partner or reader for your self-tapes. While not always possible, Thomas advised, "the more quality you surround yourself with, the better you'll shine." A bad or mediocre reader can be distracting and take away from your own performance.

At the same time, he said that truly skilled actors can still deliver a great self-tape even without an equally strong reader - it just requires being able to stay completely in character and command the performance no matter what.

Key Takeaways for Actors

Some of the key tips for actors based on my conversation with Thomas:

- Invest in high-quality, professional headshots - they are truly make-or-break

- Work with a photographer who takes the time to capture your unique essence

- Focus on traditional head and shoulder shots, with a few full body images if possible

- For self-tapes, secure the best scene partner/reader available to elevate your performance

- But stay ready to deliver a commanding performance even without an ideal reader by maintaining character

By following this expert advice from a top talent agent, actors can put themselves in a much stronger position to land coveted roles and take their careers to the next level.

In conclusion, investing in professional headshots and submitting compelling self-tapes are two of the most impactful steps aspiring actors can take to advance their careers. By focusing on quality over cost-cutting with headshots, and being adaptable to shine even without an ideal scene partner for tapes, actors equip themselves for success.

For the full interview check our PODCAST on PIC852 Show

If you are looking for examples of our Headshot photography click the link below:


bottom of page