1. Breathe. Humans breathe. Are you an alive dynamic human being? If the answer is yes, you must pay attention to your breathing during your shoot. If the answer is no, please check with a medical professional and let us know so we can prepare for the zombie apocalypse. When we get tense or nervous we tend to hold our breathe, blocking off our vulnerability. It is a defense mechanism that was maybe developed to protect us while hiding from wolves in the forest. Getting headshots may feel like being chased by a pack of wolves but we promise holding your breath won’t serve you. You can’t hide in this concrete jungle. To combat this evolutionary phenomenon, make an effort to check your breathing every two minutes. Set a timer if you must. Even ask your photographer to keep an eye out for it before the shoot. Do it. We dare you.
2. Commit to an Action. You must be fully committed to an action in order to look alive and engaging in your headshot. If like many of us you have completely blocked out your years in theater school. Committing to your actor actions automatically inject the resulting images with a vibe that casting directors pick up on. If you don't commit to an action, your headshot won't have a specific vibe and you run the risk of being blank and boring. Pick a few actions and make sure to play with them throughout the shoot. If you need help thinking of actions check out an actors thesaurus to get some ideas.
3. Create subtext. Have a secret. Make it juicy. Make it dirty. Think of something that lights you up. No one will know what you are thinking but you. Bring a list of one liners you’ve crafted to fit your type during your shoot. For example, if you can play a drug dealer thug its probably more appropriate to think “bitch imma get you and your little dog toto too” than “oh hey there, boys.” Capice?
4. The lower lid squint. If all else fails, this is your go to. It will automatically make you look ten times cooler and more interesting. Take a look at pictures of your favorite celebrities. They all do it. Try and pay attention to the expressions you make the next time you are closely listening to someone. Practice your squint in the mirror. It's the way we humans communicate.
The bottom line...