So you’ve got your headshot done. Maybe you took it last year. Or your look hasn’t changed in the past 5 years. You don’t need a new headshot, right? Wrong!
As a general rule, you should update your headshot ANY TIME YOUR LOOK CHANGES. Your headshot should always reflect what your current look is. This means that if you cut your hair (or grow it out), dye your hair, loose or gain more than 15 pounds, or your skin tone changes (hello summer tanning), that you should update your headshot.
OK. So what about those of us that have maintained our look from year to year? There’s no point in getting a new headshot if my look has changed, right? This is another common mistake. You want to UPDATE YOUR HEADSHOT AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR. And yes, this is true EVEN IF YOUR LOOK HASN’T CHANGED. Casting Directors are people too (despite the rumors). They get bored seeing the same images over and over again. Even if it is the perfect headshot, seeing it submitted repeatedly will make it have less of an impact. By updating your headshot, you’re keeping your look fresh. This also shows the Casting Director that you take the industry seriously by continually updating your portfolio. It also allows you to keep up with the latest headshot trends (both in style and the jobs that are coming to town).
Updating your headshot ever year doesn’t mean that you need to renew your entire portfolio every year. It just means that your primary headshot should be fresh. Add it to your portfolio.
For children, this rule is drastically different. If they are under 12, you’ll want to do headshots 1-2 times a year at least. This is a pretty forgiving age range and growth is pretty steady. A couple of updates a year will show their changes nicely.
The pre-teen, age 13-16 are the quickest changing age group. They should have their images updated once every 2-3 months as their look changes. Puberty hits. Facial features change. Height, weight, and body type changes. You want their headshot to reflect what their current look it. The worst thing possible is to get called into an audition and look nothing like your headshot. It makes both you and your agent look bad.
Teenagers start to level out. From 16-19, you’ll need updates 1-2 times a year as the look changes. Most of the time, the major changes happen between the junior and senior year in high school. But anytime a look changes, update.
College students should update their look about once a year. The most frequent need for a headshot update is a style change. This means that when you cut your hair, dye your hair, put on the freshman 15, or otherwise change how you look that you should update.
Adults are generally pretty consistent with their looks. If it changes, update it. If your look doesn’t change, update once a year to keep it fresh.
Above: Actress Sophia Caruso updates her headshots as she grows up and her looks change.
Below: Actor Bryan Peterson Updated his headshots after a hair cut