Headshots in the UK

I just got this email from James, an American actor who's about to move to London from Seattle:

Q: 'I saw on your blog that the standard over there is 10 x 8 instead of the American 8 x 10. Does this mean that it's landscape view for is it still portrait? Also, what's the type of paper that is standard? Is it glossy or just thick stock?'

A: First - my original post on British headshots is here: www.yankeeinlondon.net/archives/2006_07_01_archive.html
No 10x8 doesn't mean it's landscape (in fact they seem to scorn that style over here), Brits just call it 10x8 instead of 8x10. I have no idea why. As for paper - I'd go with premium photo paper. Whether it's glossy or matte is up to you, but my agents prefer matte as it doesn't show fingerprints or glare as much. A few other points:

Your Name
My agents advise against putting my name on the front. They say it's an American thing and generally isn't done here. I personally think you'd want it on there so casting directors know who you are, but hey ho.

'Head' shot

The three-quarter shot doesn't seem to fly over here unless you're a model. So choose a shot that is just head and shoulders.

Black & White v Color
Black and white is still very much the norm here for your main shots. My actor friends in DC, NYC and LA tell me color has taken over these days but it is only just starting here. My agents chose two contrasting black and white shots for my main photos and told me to put a few color shots in my Spotlight portfolio in case casting directors want to see my eye/hair/skin color. I also use color shots on my website.


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