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What is Your Agent Looking For?

By November 8, 2018No Comments

You’re an actress, actor, or model. You’re looking for you’re next big break, so you talk to your agent. Your agent says s/he has an opportunity for you, but the headshot you have is outdated by three years. The producers need someone to take the lead role ASAP. You, on the other hand, need to apply but you already know your outdated headshot won’t make the cut. What do you need to do? Hire a senior photographer – like Martina Magnusson, for example. Professional photographers like Martina know exactly what agencies are looking for in a headshot before sending them out to producers for hire. Do you know what your agent is looking for? If not, let’s find out.

First and foremost, your agent, and the producers your agent is in contact with, are going to know right away whether or not your headshot is professional or mediocre. They have seen hundreds, maybe even thousands of headshots in their line of work. They know the difference between someone who’s serious about their career and will go the extra mile to pay for the right kind of photos, versus someone who thinks they can get by with looks alone or the kind of experience they’ve gained that’s written on the backs of their headshots. You want to stand out. You want to be called back. If this is the case, then you want to go pro. As a professional photographer based in Downers Grove, Illinois, I have had my fair share of up and coming actors, actresses and models alike who want to be chosen for their big break. When they come to me looking for a new headshot, I never turn them down because I know what agents are looking for nowadays. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill Instagram glamour shot. This is professional grade, commercial-level, fine art photography. Anything less than that is an ordinary Facebook profile photo. Don’t go with ordinary. Go pro, it’s worth it.

While I’ve seen many clients laying their claim to fame, I go out of my way to hire my own professional makeup artist. This is because, for actors/actresses/models, it’s important to highlight the best features of your look. The thing about makeup in a professional headshot however, is that we’re not looking to put glamour over personality. What your agent wants to see in your headshot is you, not how much makeup you can put on, not what kind of jewelry looks great with your outfit, or anything that takes away from your personality. This is the greatest part of professional headshot photography. As the person behind the camera, I get to see the real you: the reason you’ll be hired for your big break, and not the clothes you wear or the winged eyeliner that you think will put you on the spot. It’s important that you put on as little makeup as possible and wear something not too flashy or too revealing. You’re trying to sell you. The reason I hire a professional makeup artist is because she knows just as well as I do that agents want to see the person producers are hiring for who they really are, bare all.

It is important for you to communicate with me the kind of roles you are targeting your auditions for. If you are interested in landing a sitcom role, or a film, please let me know during the booking process. The reason for this is because agents and producers also look into the kind of lighting casted on your photo. What I mean is this: let’s say you wanted to be the star of a new sitcom on TBS or TNT. If you tell me this in the booking process, I will suggest a more polished, and neutral background with studio lighting. If in the booking process you tell me you’re trying out for a role for a new film starring George Clooney, I will recommend outdoor lighting. The reason for the former (sitcom, neutral background, studio lighting) is because of the way sitcoms are filmed. If you’ve watched shows like “Friends” or “Will & Grace”, you’ll notice that all the sets are quite uniform and streamlined. The lighting they use is very much the same. There is no reason to add outdoor lighting to an indoor situation on a sitcom. To be able to hire you for a sitcom role, producers and agents will look into your photo and judge based on the lighting how well you’ll look on camera with the same kind of studio lighting they will be using for filming. The reason for the latter (film, outdoor lighting) is because films are nothing like sitcoms. Depending on the director, the films will either take place on location for the story, or they will build sets to depict the location, but the lighting will not always be the same. Agents and producers judge the lighting cast on your face in your headshot to see if you’re a good fit for the kind of production they’re trying to achieve.

For more information on lighting, makeup, clothing, etc. for your next headshot, visit Book your appointment today!

Source: Backstage. Article author: Matt Newton. Published February 19, 2017. (


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