A professional ‘Model Headshot’ is perhaps the most important photo you will take at the start of your Model career. Before you set your sights on booking gigs with Versace or Prada, you have to start with an appealing headshot that shows who you are and what you look like.
Treat your headshots like a window into the world of YOU. It’s the first photo a prospective Agent, Casting Director or Client will see of you, and your first chance at getting your foot in the door. First impressions matter!
Throughout my Model career, I’ve taken my fair share of headshots, so I’d like to think I’ve perfected the art of the best makeup, expression, wardrobe and delivery. Whether you’re a new Model just starting out or a Model with experience looking to expand into a different market, these tips will help you get your headshots right the first time and improve your chances of booking your next job.
Further Reading: How to Become a Model: Tips For Becoming a Model in 2023.
Bruna Lapinskas @ Bella Model Management
1. Keep your makeup minimal
Agents, scouts and casting directors want to see the real you. You just need to find your inner confidence and showcase why YOU are the right choice for their next campaign. Don’t hide behind layers of make-up or mountains of styled hair. A little, in this instance, goes a long way. Keep it simple with a bit of foundation, concealer, blush, mascara, and a nude lip. If you have oily skin, some translucent powder will help get rid of any sheen that might distract the eye from your eyes. Showing yourself at your most natural is like showing a creative director a blank canvas – it’s where their ideas can come to life, and they’ll see you as the best model to help them express their creative vision.
FREE Model Resource: Download my Top 10 Tips for Castings here FREE Model Casting Guide!
2. Dress to show off your features
Much like your makeup, you want to keep your clothing understated to ensure that the attention is on you and your face and features. A simple pair of jeans and a white shirt or blouse will work just fine to keep the focus on your features. Don’t forget that casting agents are looking more at your face and body proportions than your clothes, so focus on feeling comfortable and confident in what you wear.
Andy Richardson @ Vivien’s Models
Model Industry Tip: Let’s talk suitable clothing. Whilst it might be your own personal style, perhaps you’re following the current fashion trends, or you’re living your best designer life – it pays to be mindful that there is a ‘time and place’ for personal fashion and styling when it comes to your Model portfolio. Specifically for your Model Headshots and Model Digis, clothing that is baggy, ripped, torn, shows offensive wording or slang, looks overly sexual, is designer, or displays big logos, etc are not the time and place. Plain, neutral, skin tight clothing is best to achieve what you need for your Model Headshot and Model Digis.
My Model Headshots 2022
Further Reading: 6 Skincare Tips to Get Clear + Healthy Skin.
3. Vary your poses and facial expressions
Much like acting, when a casting director has a campaign in mind, they are likely to be looking for a specific type of character or ‘look’ in your headshots. So, if you can take multiple headshots, make sure to vary your facial expressions so you can choose one most suitable to the gig you’re applying for. As for the position of your face, keep your head forward and chin down to show off your best facial features.
Jade Richards @ Chic Management.
Model Industry Tip: Practicing your best angles; in front of the mirror or using your mobile/cell phone on a self-timer ahead of time; can make or break your Model headshots when you’re in the studio. Every Model is unique and has something different to offer, so have a play around to see what angles and expressions work best for you.
Toto @ Chadwick Models.
4. Quality over quantity
It’s always a great idea to take multiple headshots. That way, you have a variety of facial expressions and styles to choose from depending on the industry or campaign you’re applying for. As for submitting those photos, at a minimum, you should include one headshot and one body shot, and of course, make sure they highlight your best features. Quality always trumps quantity, so make sure you have just a few stunning images to showcase your look.
Arguably, the most important aspect is your confidence in those headshots. Make sure you’re happy with your headshots so you can confidently submit them to an agency.
As a model, first impressions are crucial, which makes the first photos you submit to an agency your once chance at making a good impression. Agencies receive thousands of photos every week, and agents will make their casting decisions based on just a few seconds. Don’t lose hope if you’re not the one chosen this round, but know that opportunity will come if you stay focused on your end goal.
Further Reading: Types of Modelling + Requirements: 10 Model Categories That Anyone Can Work In.
Hillary Bitar @ Silver Fox Management.
Model Industry Tip: Don’t forget to include all your details and contact information an Agent needs (this includes your measurements, phone number and email address). If you’re under the age of 18, you’ll need to supply the contact details of your parent or legal guardian. You don’t want to be thrown in the “no” pile because you forgot something as basic as your phone number! Whoops.
FREE Model Resource: If you’re not sure what to do in the lead up to your first Model Casting, take a read of my FREE Model Casting Guide!
I hope you found this guide helpful. I wish you all the very best in your future endeavours to break into the Model industry or level up your Model portfolio and find a thriving career!
Ps: This is a quality guide and I don’t mind you sharing it. I’d appreciate it if you follow standard professional etiquette and please quote + credit my content appropriately when you do:
Want to learn more?
Getting the perfect headshot can make all the difference when applying to an Agency or attending an open Casting call. Let’s get you closer to where you want to be! My signature offering The Model Masterclass will give you all the information you need about working as a Model and more importantly – how to set yourself on the right path for Model success. For more details, you can read about my Model Courses here, my professional background and path to being a Model Coach here, my press + media coverage here. You can also get to know me a little more here (to see if we vibe together) on my Insta: @kateheussler and Facebook: @kateheussler.