The Best Actor Headshots

This week: Headshots; to have a border or not?

Paul Russell
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To border or not to border… that is the question.

This past week a reader sent me a question about the latest picture and resume trends. He had been hearing many conflicting opinions (shocking in our industry) about whether a headshot should have a border or be full bleed (i.e. no border). Every five or so years the “in” headshot format alters. Who the hell determines this? I have no fucking clue. The start and persistence of some trends is as mysterious as Donald Trump’s reddish-blonde mop.

As to who cares about the headshot trends? Actors and photographers. Who doesn’t care as much? The people who don’t hire photographers but hire actors.

So the question… to border or not to border? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that the headshot looks like you each and every time you step in front of an auditor for the life of that headshot. Not a glamor shot. An honest picture of your puss.

More headshot quandaries:

Matte finish or Sears Picture Studio glossy? Matte finish.

Horizontal or vertical? Just like sexual positions it doesn’t really matter much as long as both are done well.

In ACTING: Make It Your Business agents, working actors of film and Broadway discuss extensively headshots that succeed plus display good quality headshot examples (like the  ones below):

and headshot mishaps (similar to these below… Note: don’t let this happen to you):

So what have we learned this week? The current headshot trend for borders or not is; it doesn’t much. Matte finish is preferred plus your headshot and sex in any position is ok as long as all are done well.

For more on picture and resume formatting, examples of quality headshots, how to find a headshot photographer, to make-up or not make-up for a photo shoot and much more check out ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor.

If you think this is a shameless self-promotional plug it’s not. My job on my career journey is to help and guide actors with and towards work so they can have a more successful career journey.

Additional Actor Headshot Advice: Industry perspective on actor headshots from a talent agency owner @ A Picture is Worth a Thousand Jobs – Getting Your Best Actor Headshot

AMIYB_AmazonRead advice from legendary talent agents,
plus Hollywood & Broadway actors in Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING: Make It Your Business!

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He writes a column for Back Stage and is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit

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