Theatrical vs. Commercial Headshots for Actors
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Theatrical vs. Commercial Headshots for Actors



The acting industry is notoriously diverse. And tough! As an actor, therefore, you'll want to get the right kind of headshot for your career. Actor headshots in Los Angeles fall into two main categories: commercial and theatrical. Both have very distinct goals, and they'll be viewed by agents in very different ways. Some actors focus on one area or the other, while others prefer to broaden their outreach and get headshots in both categories. Before scheduling a headshot session, here's what to know about both.


Commercial Headshots

If your acting trajectory involves selling products, you'll want to have commercial headshots in your portfolio. These headshots are sent to commercial casting directors. As a whole, they are typically quite picky. Essentially, they're looking for someone who can relate to (and ultimately sell products to) consumers. In less than 10 seconds after looking at your image, they'll decide if you make the cut. Since 55% of a first impression is visual, you'll want to make sure you stand out from the crowd.


To catch a director's eye, you'll want a headshot that makes you look warm, friendly, and approachable. These Los Angeles headshots generally portray an actor in a relaxed setting, appearing relaxed, and wearing casual everyday clothing. Experts recommend wearing minimal makeup for a more natural look and wearing soft colors that have a neutral tone. Keep in mind that some commercials are designed for a specific demographic. If you're looking to sell products to a particular demographic, make sure to dress the part. For instance, you'd want to dress more casually for entry-level marketing vehicles to college students compared to marketing higher-end luxury cars. Unless you're planning to play a more serious role in commercials, it's best to smile for your commercial headshot.


Theatrical Headshots

Happy? Sad? Angry? Pensive? In some ways, theatrical headshots are the complete opposite of commercial headshots. Their goal is to reflect an actor's personality rather than portray a character that resonates with a broad audience. What you might not realize, however, is that even though there is more leeway for personal expression with theatrical headshots, directors are ultimately looking for an actor who is responsible, smart, and trustworthy.

The ticket to success with theatrical headshots is to appear as professional as possible. That's true even if you are embarking on an acting career or if you plan to play a comedic role. When you schedule a theatrical headshot session, wear darker clothing and choose a darker background color. You can still select colors that complement your skin tone, hair color, and eye color for the most aesthetically appealing results, but avoid colors that are flashy, bright, or otherwise distracting. Casual clothing is also acceptable for theatrical headshots, but it should err on the side of slightly more professional.


Ready to start? Contact The Headshot Truck to begin. Our expert team of photographers and professional stylists will ensure you get the right look to best match upcoming commercial and theatrical auditions.

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