The industry standard for actor’s headshots is usually every 1 – 2 years. However, it is important to note that there are a number of exceptions to this rule. Most importantly, you need to make sure you look like your headshot all of the time. Character breakdowns can be very specific. They are written with certain details in mind that casting directors are looking for to fill roles. When you show up to your audition, looking different than the headshot that your agent has submitted, it is annoying to casting directors and may be considered a waste of their time. Casting directors often call back actors and actresses that they know they can rely on. You need to make sure you still look like your photos. There is nothing wrong with changing your look. Just make sure you get new headshots taken each time you undergo a significant change.
Here is a list of changes that should prompt you to have a new headshot taken:
A trim or slightly different style is okay, but a drastic new style like sudden bangs or a significantly shorter “do” definitely calls for a new headshot.
- Hair color
The same goes for your hair color. Dying your hair different colors is trendy and expresses your fun personality. However, walking into an audition with a different color of hair than your headshot is a big no-no.
- Weight gain or loss
Everyone gains and loses weight throughout life. However, if you recently lost a significant amount of weight, congratulations, but you need new headshots. Weight loss or gain can change your facial structure, giving you a different look. Also, breakdowns often require a specific body type, so make sure your headshot reflects your actual current size. Any change in weight 15+ pounds should motivate you to have new pictures taken.
- Children aging
A child’s look changes much quicker than an adult’s look. The younger the child, the more often you will need to get new headshots. A 6-year-old child obviously looks drastically different than a 10-year-old. Because children’s looks change so often, it is important to update their headshots frequently.
- Dental work
When it comes to your teeth, don’t be tempted to think that only perfectly white and straight teeth will help you book a role. There are plenty of roles that call for a person with braces, crooked teeth, and even missing teeth. When you get braces off or have any noticeable dental work done, be sure to get headshots retaken to reflect your new smile accurately.
- Cosmetic changes/plastic surgery
Los Angeles is known for a variety of face altering procedures. Some procedures are permanent and others fade over time. Whether you are having your lips injected or rhinoplasty, your new look justifies a new headshot. After all, you had the procedure to change your look, right? If your cosmetic procedure was successful to you, then you don’t look like your headshot anymore. Guess what? It’s time for a new one.
The bottom line is that your headshot needs to look just like you when you walk through the door for your audition. Casting directors aren’t looking for big surprises. They are busy people and they like knowing what to expect when it comes to your looks.
If your photos are working well for you, every year or two is sufficient to update. If not, you should probably consider looking into your options to update your headshots.