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Mastering Comedic Headshots (A Detailed Guide)

If you are an actor who is into comedy, you need to have comedic headshots that reflect your skills. They are way different from other types of headshots.

Here I have elaborated on why these headshots are required and how you can create the best comedic headshots for auditions or for promoting your live shows.  

Why Are Comedic Headshots Required?

As a comedian, you have several options in terms of career path. You can find acting opportunities in plays, TV shows, or movies and moreover, you can go for stand-up comedy. 

In both cases having comedic headshots goes a long way. 

For acting opportunities headshots are necessary for auditions. Depending on the audition requirements you can send the most appropriate comedic headshots to the agent. 

And in case you are planning for a stand-up comedy show, headshots are a great way to market yourself. You can use them for posters and invitations. 

Learn More: Different Types of Headshots For Actors

Steps To Make Comedic Headshots

Here I will provide you with a detailed guide to help you build a fresh set of comedic headshots. You can follow these steps as it is or you can tweak a little as per your requirements. 

1. Preparing For The Shoot

Just like any other headshot, a lot goes into making comedic headshots. For me, comedy is one of the most challenging genres for actors. You can consider yourself a good actor if you are good at it. 

But still, you will need a lot of preparation.

Build character worksheet

The first and foremost thing is the understand your requirement for comedic headshots. You can ask yourself the following questions to understand your requirements.

  • What kind of gig or audition do you want to target?
  • Is there any specific character you need to portray?
  • To whom do you want to show your comedic headshots?

By answering these three questions you will know how to approach the headshot photoshoot.

More importantly, you will understand the character you need to capture in the headshot. Without having a character in mind you can get the headshot that could win you an audition or a part. 

Also, I believe in theatrical or dramatic headshots you can be yourself but not with comedic headshots. 

Comedic movies or shows work only if their characters are right. Just look at Joey From “Friends” or Look at Sheldon From the tv show The Big Bang Theory, the character, and the actor were a perfect fit. 

So make sure you understand the character before you start shooting the headshots. 

To understand the character you can use our worksheet to develop characters

The worksheet will help you understand the character from all dimensions. Also, you will get fresh ideas for the headshots. 

2. Adding The Comedic Elements

Now I am assuming you have understood the character. You know who he or she is and what kind of life he or she has. It is time to bring the comedic element into the headshot. 

Many actors say comedy is all about improvisation but I believe you have to plan for it too. 

So make sure you plan for the comedic element. 

For a headshot, it is through your expression you will be able to do that. There is nothing else you can do. 

But what kind of expressions you will portray?

Let me give you a simple trick that you can use to find comedic expressions. 

The first one is to list down adjectives and their respective expression. This trick works for all kinds of headshots. 

Let me give you an example. 

For an adjective like laughable, what expressions come to your mind? Just try to express it. Try different expressions. Since it is a picture, you don’t need any context. Try to imitate whatever expression comes to your mind.

Try to work with different adjectives and try to find the expressions. I suggest you try some funny adjectives so that you can induce funny expressions. 

Spend a day or so working on this so that it is easier for you to recreate when you are shooting the headshots. 

Check this list of funny adjectives to get some ideas. 

3. Getting The Right Costume

When you are working on headshots, the shots are generally close or mid-close. This leaves less room for trying different costumes. But still, you should try different costumes. 

In my experience, costumes really help you get into the character. And if that happens, it generally reflects in your headshots. 

If you have used my worksheet, you can easily understand what kind of clothes your character wears.

Try out different outfits that suit your character. However, try to use some funny elements with costumes too. Maybe the color combination is funky or funny. Maybe the combination of clothes or accessories of the character is weird.  

Keep at least 2-3 choices for the headshot. Because we cannot be sure which choice works unless and until we capture it on camera. 

You can shoot headshots in all choices and then keep the one that you feel is most close to your requirements.

4. Getting The Right Photographer

When you are looking for headshot photographers, you will find many who call them as headshot photographers but you have to look for a photographer who has experience of shooting comedic headshots.

As I have mentioned earlier all types of headshots are different and require different treatments. So you hire a photographer who has experience in shooting comedic headshots, and your work becomes easier. 

To find the right photographer, all you have to do is ask for samples or ask for the portfolio of the photographer. And ask specifically for the comedic headshot samples, so that you can judge his skills. 

Once you find the right photographer, make sure you share your preparation with a photographer in advance. Not many actors share their preparation with the photographer. This is a big mistake. 

When you share your preparation and ideas, the photographer will understand your requirement and make preparations of his own in advance.

This will save a lot of time while shooting and especially when you are on a tight budget, this will save you money.  

Final Thought

If you follow these steps I am sure you will be able to capture some good comedic headshots. Also, I suggest you try a few different variations for the same character because it is only after shooting we can be sure that you executed whatever you planned and it worked.