British Headshots

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the British headshot looks quite different than its American counterpart.

How to find a photographer
Of course a personal reference is best, but lacking that here’s how:
  1. Look though Contacts published by Spotlight
    Almost all UK headshot photographers will advertise here. Most of the ads are scattered within the 'Agents & Personal Managers' and 'Casting Directors' sections. In the 2007 edition I think there will be a Services section, which would also be a good place to look. If photographers list a website, visit it.
  2. Go to the Spotlight Office (7 Leiscester Pl., London WC2H 7RJ)
    There’s a bookshelf in the main office filled with photographers’ portfolios of 10x8’s. If you’re still not satisfied, flip through the many volumes of Actors and Actresses, also published by Spotlight. The books are filled with thousands of actors’ photos and nearly all of them have a photo credit. Usually a handful of headshots will keep popping out at you – make a note of the photographer and give them a call!

The Trends
In the US there is an affinity for horizontal and ¾ formats. With the advent of the digital camera, color shots are increasingly popular. It’s become hip to have a super-cropped shot, having your head cut off at the forehead drawing more focus to your eyes. In LA and NY, the headshot is more and more slick and experimental, edging toward being artwork itself. (See In my view that’s exciting, in that it makes you look fashionable and the headshot interesting to look at.

Here in London the trend is much more traditional – black and white, vertical, head and shoulders, often with natural light, little makeup and minimal styling. (See The argument I’ve heard for this simpler style is that “Casting directors want to focus on your face and your potential for characters, not the styling of the photo.”

If you’re new to London, it’s good to have your American shot on hand to show that particular look, but I recommend you also get a more British style headshot. That’s not to say a photographer can’t be bold within the style, but there should be an emphasis on the ‘real’ you – imperfections and all. In my experience retouching – with the exception of technical corrections – is generally frowned upon.

Good luck.


Anonymous said…
You can also try for more modern stuff.

Popular Posts