We’ve all been there. You’ve got an audition coming up. You’re not sure you’re gonna get the job, so you’re not quite sure a full on headshot session is worth shelling out the dollars. So you snap a selfie in the car, you have your mom take a photo of you in front of your fence in the backyard, you crop your face out of a family photo. Can I tell you a secret though? The method that you choose to have your photo taken says a lot more about you than how you look in your actual photo.
Let’s compare your audition to a job interview-because that’s what it is. Let’s say you showed up to a corporate office with a handwritten resume that you whipped up on the back of paper you found in your car. You hand it over to the interviewer, who has a stack next to him of typed-up resumés. What assumptions can he make about you? That you’re ill-prepared. That you weren’t looking ahead. That you don’t care about this job. That you do sloppy work. That you have a hard time with deadlines. That you run late. All things that an employer doesn’t care to deal with, and if they have any other options, they will most likely go with those. Even if you have the best interview in the world, this employer has mayyyyybe 5 minutes to assess whether you’re someone he/she can count on.
Now, let’s head back to theatre. Rehearsals are time consuming and require a lot of outside prep in order to pull your weight in a cast. A stage manager and directors’ ideal cast member would be someone who shows up on time, comes memorized, is responsible with time-so that when the show is running know when their scene is coming up, and who cares about the show. If you hand over an outdated headshot, a selfie (yes, even in portrait mode), or a crop of a family photo with the edge of someone elses’ shoulder on the side, you are sending a clear message to the director. He/She has mayyyybe 30 seconds to decide if you are going to be hardworking and prepared, and by handing him a photo that proves you don’t posses either of those traits, you are giving yourself a huge disadvantage.
A headshot is your first investment in yourself, that helps others have the trust to invest in you too. Don’t sell yourself short.