Tips for Taking Headshots for Modelling
Aside from finding a reputable agency, getting your child or teen’s headshots ready for their modelling portfolio is perhaps one of the most important steps that you’ll take in their fledgling career. This is because headshots are often the first opportunity a casting director or photographer gets to see your child. And we all know just how important first impressions are in the industry, right?
As you can imagine, this critical step really needs to be planned well so that your child is presented in the best possible light in their portfolio and online talent portal profiles. If you’re new to the industry you probably have a whole heap of questions about how to take headshots for the modelling world and we totally understand. After all, how on earth are you supposed to know and work on your development?
Well lucky for you, the team here at Bubblegum HQ have your back. We’ve got decades of experience representing talented kids and making sure that their headshots are on point. And so we’ve gone ahead and compiled a few tips below that will help you capture your child’s one-of-a-kind uniqueness in a set of headshots that are guaranteed to impress anyone and everyone in the industry.
So let’s dive right in.
Hire a professional photographer
This isn’t so much of a tip as an absolutely essential ‘must do’. Every casting director, client, and photographer on the planet wants to see professionally-taken headshots. This is because they want to see what your child or teen looks like in a professional setting as that’s the conditions they’ll be working under. So no matter how nifty you are with a smartphone camera or DSLR, you’ll want to book a session with a professional. Ideally, you’ll book a photographer who has headshot experience as they’ll be able to tell you all the right headshots professional models use.
Your agency should be able to recommend a good headshot photographer, but just be aware that it can get a little pricey so you may want to shop around. If you’re thinking of applying to join Bubblegum Casting, this is something that you won’t have to worry about as we include your child’s headshots in your membership fees. Not bad if we do say so ourselves!
Speak with your child about the process
Remember what we said about how important headshots are for a child’s modelling career? Well, you’ll need to have a chat with your child or teen and just let them know just how important this photo session is. Of course it can be fun and with the right photographer your child will no doubt enjoy the experience. However, they must understand that they will need to follow the photographer’s instructions and treat the session just like they would a paying job.
In fact, a headshot session is a good opportunity to help your child prepare for working in the studio. So even though you may be paying for the session, think of it as an extra work opportunity and a chance for further development.
Wear the right clothes
Now you might be wondering what to wear for headshots modelling. Do you need to dress up? What about colours? Are shoes important? What are the different types of poses?
Let’s keep this simple. Your child’s headshots are going to focus on the upper half of their body or from about mid-chest upwards. This means that you don’t need to worry about fancy outfits or kicking sneakers. All you want is a plain-coloured and unbranded top and no accessories. Stay away from patterns such as stripes or spots as they draw the attention away from your child’s features and if you really need to accessorise with a hair band, then keep it simple. If your child wears glasses then they should certainly wear them as this is part of who they are.
While headshots focus on the head (surprise, surprise!) you’ll want to make sure that your child’s entire outfit is presentable. Plain pants and a pair of clean shoes will do just right.
What about makeup?
Would you be surprised if we told you to lay off the makeup? It’s a common misconception that child models must wear makeup for their model headshots while some younger teens think that they need to make themselves look older. The fact is that casting directors and photographers want to see what your child looks like naturally. Sure, a tiny bit of foundation might work but any good headshot photographer should be able to capture your child in their best light with no need for heavy makeup.
And about those teen model headshots. No matter how much your teen wants to wear makeup that gives them a more grown up and adult look, you should dissuade them from doing so. Make sure they understand that if they want to get booked, then they should look their own age as that’s what clients will expect to see. So no heavy makeup!
Strike a pose
Now that you’re all set, it’s time to talk about those poses. Generally speaking, your photographer will be able to help you out here, but just so you know, here are the face angles and poses that we usually see in model headshots.
Your child’s nose should be pointing directly at the camera lens with both sides of the face visible in equal amounts. Eyes and ears should be visible in this headshot pose.
The ¾ view is when your child turns their head slightly to one side. This should be far enough that you can no longer see the ear on the side that is turned away from the camera. This is a very common and very flattering photo and the root of that well-known phrase ‘make sure you get my good side!’
This is a little more extreme than the ¾ view and it’s not always used but we thought we’d mention it anyway. Your child’s head continues its turn from the pose above until their nose almost touches the edge of their cheek that is turned away from the camera.
This is a pretty easy one as it’s a side-on shot with your child’s head turned at a 90 degree angle from the camera. Your child won’t need to look at the camera in this shot, they simply look straight ahead.
Before your model headshot session, it’s a good idea to familiarise your child or teen with these poses. This way they’ll have a rough idea of what to do when the photographer asks them to strike a pose. Bear in mind though that the photographer may have some ideas of their own which you should definitely listen to. After all, they have the experience!
If you’re still not sure about your child’s model headshots and you’re in the market for representation, then we’d love to hear from you. You can feel free to contact us directly or go ahead and apply to join the Bubblegum family right away. Either way, we’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.