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Should I Smile In Los Angeles Actor Headshots?



To Smile or Not to Smile in Your


When you're preparing for an actor headshot session in Los Angeles, one of the key decisions you face is whether to smile or maintain a more neutral expression. This choice might seem trivial at first, but in the world of acting, it can significantly impact how casting directors and agents perceive you.


The question of whether to smile in your acting headshots does not have a one-size-fits-all answer; it deeply depends on various factors related to your acting career and goals.

Understanding the Role of Your LA Acting Headshot

First and foremost, it's crucial to understand that your actor headshot is more than just a photograph; it is a marketing tool. This image represents you to casting directors and agents, making a strong first impression before you even walk into an audition room. Your actor headshot should align with the types of roles you are aiming for, whether in commercials, theatrical roles, or film and television.

Headshot Questions to Consider

Before deciding whether to smile in your acting headshots, consider the following:

  • What casting type are you targeting? Your acting headshot should reflect the character types you are most likely to be cast as. If you’re going for roles that require a warm, friendly demeanor, a smiling actor headshot might be appropriate.

  • Are your headshots for commercial or theatrical work? Commercial work often favors a friendly, approachable look, while theatrical acting headshots might require a more varied range depending on the character.

Let's explore some reasons why you might choose to smile in your acting headshots, keeping in mind that the ultimate decision depends on your specific situation and career objectives.



  1. Youthful Appearance: A smile can often make a person appear younger, fresher, and more vibrant. If your aim is to land roles that require a youthful energy, a smiling, Los Angeles, actor headshot can subtly suggest vivacity and exuberance.

  2. Approachability: Smiling naturally makes a person appear more approachable and friendly. In the realm of acting, especially in commercials and certain types of television roles, conveying a sense of approachability can be a crucial factor in casting decisions. When a casting director feels that positive emotion from seeing your smiling actor headshot, it can make you a memorable choice.

  3. Suitability for Certain Roles: If you are eyeing roles in genres such as comedy, family-oriented productions, or certain types of musical theatre, a smiling acting headshot can communicate the right energy and personality for such roles. It tells casting directors that you have the demeanor and look that fit the lighthearted or positive nature of the production.

  4. Commercial Appeal: Many commercial projects require talents who can project positivity and happiness, as these emotions are often essential in advertising to evoke consumer happiness and satisfaction. A natural, engaging smile can make you an ideal candidate for commercial advertisements, where the primary goal is to connect with a broad audience.

  5. Boost During the Shoot: Smiling can actually boost your mood due to the release of serotonin, a feel-good hormone. Starting your session with a few smiling shots might leave you feeling more relaxed and positive, enhancing the overall quality of subsequent photos, even those with more serious expressions.

Balancing Your Acting and Modeling Portfolio

While there are compelling reasons to include smiling shots in your acting headshot portfolio, it's also wise to provide a range of expressions. This diversity will showcase your versatility as an actor and ensure you have the right type of headshot for different audition requirements. Discuss with your Los Angeles headshot photographer about capturing various moods and expressions during your session:

actor headshot photographers in Hollywood Los Angeles


  • Serious and Intense: For dramatic roles, a serious expression can convey depth and intensity.

  • Subtle Smirk: A slight smirk can be perfect for roles that require a sense of mystery or smugness.

  • Neutral: A neutral expression is versatile and can be used for a wide range of character types.

Deciding whether to smile in your actor headshots in Los Angeles is a nuanced choice that should be guided by your career goals, the types of roles you are pursuing, and the characteristics that you want to emphasize to casting directors. A good strategy is to work with a skilled Los Angeles headshot photographer who understands the industry standards and can guide you in achieving a headshot that captures your essence and appeals to your target audience. Remember, having a variety of headshots at your disposal will prepare you for a wider range of opportunities, allowing you to submit the most appropriate and impactful image for every audition.




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