So what is needed for a commercial headshot? Bright, happy, smiling, sweet images that cover your casting in that field. I go over casting in the section ‘What is Casting’. But briefly here it is how you are seen that can be cast. For example, lets say that you are a 25 year old woman, but you look younger. You will want to cover your casting by looking like a teenager, looking like a young professional and looking like a young mom. Lets say you are a 40 year old male, no gray hair, not particularly fit. You will want to cover blue collar guy, dad, office employee and maybe sports fan. Casting covers the range of your potential as an actor. Both commercially and theatrically. But commercial shots are lighter. They are smiles and projecting happiness because in a nut shell that is what commercials are projecting in order to get people interested in their products. No matter if it’s life insurance, toothpaste or potato chips happiness is a part of what they are selling.
Theatrical headshots are a bit different. They are used for TV and film and actual theatre work in front of live audiences. They represent a broader spectrum because in a nutshell you are telling life stories real or imagined. So the spectrum of images to cover your casting is what you are looking for. They are not smily, though you can be smiling, especially if your goals are for comedy and sitcoms. But for the most part theatrical headshots are straight forward, no smiles, more dramatic and also cover your casting range. It is important to not that while trying to cover your casting you are not getting to halloween about it. You hint to your casting, you do not dress up like you are walked off the set of Games of Thrones just because you would want to work on a show like that. You do not wear lab coats and cop uniforms or other such nonsense. That is extreme and smacks of desperation. But as an actor you want to cover your casting range and have shots that manage that while communicating that you are a professional. Shape those theatrical headshots to the career you are aiming for. I suggest making a list and also communicating to your agent about what they need. Agents look at the breakdowns daily. They see the trends and have an idea of what looks need to be covered for your personal casting.