Photographs are a key tool for your child’s success. They act as a calling card denoting the first impression. If your child is five or under, or if you’re just beginning to shop for agents, snapshots are suitable. All too often people spend money on professional headshots before acquiring an agent, and then are obliged to have them redone at the request of the new agent.
Additionally, it’s necessary to decide what type of entertainment work your child will pursue before investing any significant amount of money in photographs. Depending on the type of work (commercial, theatrical, modeling, etc.), photo styles are different. Headshots are typically used for commercial/theatrical auditions and are shot from the chest up, whereas 3/4 or full length body shots are used for modeling.
Simple snapshots, when done correctly, can produce excellent results for beginners trying to get a foot in the door. Use the tips below to ensure your snapshots put your child’s best face forward.
- Use a high-quality digital camera
- Use outdoor light (either early morning or late afternoon)
- Keep it fresh, simple, and natural
- Avoid distractions (like props), over-accessorizing, patterned clothing, and busy backgrounds
- Use colors that enhance your child’s eyes, hair color, and skin tone
- Try different clothes and hairstyles
- Take your time and take plenty of pictures
- Strive for bright smiles and open eyes looking directly into the camera
- Have fun! This can be a practice run for when your child shoots with a professional photographer and a useful way to gage how your child responds to the situation
- Print the photos with a matte surface rather than glossy
TIP: If you don’t feel comfortable with your own photography skills, hire a photography student who needs the experience and won’t charge the high rates of professional photographers. Make sure the student photographer provides a CD of all your shots.
Once your child’s acting career intensifies and requires professional headshots, follow these tips:
- Find a professional! If you’ve acquired a talent or modeling agent, they will usually have a referral list of photographers they suggest or recommend. Cross reference their suggestions with our member recommendations in the Forum. CAUTION: Packages of photos should never be ‘sold’ to you as a condition of representation.
- Ask to see samples of their work
- Compare quality against price
- Ask that a copy of the photos on a disk be included in the package
- Avoid photographers who want money upfront
- NEVER send your child to a photoshoot alone
Before duplicating your photos, give your agent/manager a chance to look them over to help with selection and assess your duplicating needs. Between submissions and auditions, this amount can be anywhere from 50 to 300 copies.
Do not expect your photos to be returned to you.
Did you know?
Agents don’t like to view photos attached to e-mail. Attachments sometimes contain viruses and agents are often leery of opening them. Host photos on your own website and use links instead.
If you’re just starting out and haven’t worked yet, it’s alright because there are still plenty of ways to build an exceptional resume. Here are a few tips:
- Your resume should only be one page
- At this age, no one is expecting you to have a full resume
- If under 8, list any/all on-set employment because it shows your child knows what it means to work on set.
Here’s what you will need to include in a resume:
- Personal Data
Name of Actor (Union if applicable)
Date of Birth (do not list age as it will quickly become obsolete)
- Contact Information
Contact Phone (private mobile number)
Agent’s Name/Number & Logo if applicable
Managers Name/Number & Logo if applicable
Seeking Representation if applicable
Current/Valid Work Permit if applicable
As your child gets work, it will be listed under experience and categorized as Print, Film, Television, Theater, etc. Before your first job, however, build a resume on performances and participation in the following:
Professional (if any work has been done already, list this first)
- Special Skills
List as many skills as possible including foreign languages, accents, musical instruments, unusual talents, etc. For infants and toddlers, list simple skills (i.e. blows kisses, waves, smiles or giggles on cue) and personal traits (i.e. playful, energetic, curious)
- Keep it clean, simple, and easy to read
- Be honest; you never know when a casting director might want your child to show one of their skills
- DO NOT list your home phone number and address. Use a separate cell phone number, a PO Box, or your manager/agent’s info if you have one
- Staple or glue your resume and photo back to back – never hand in two separate documents
8 x 10 Photos and resumes should be stapled back to back, trimming off any extra paper.