How Often Should You Update Your Headshots?

People ask us all the time, “How often should you update your headshots?” Chances are if you’re thinking that, then you are probably due. The industry standard is about every 1 to 2 years. However, that can be different for each person. If your look changes dramatically, it’s time to get a new headshot. It’s important that your headshot represents you. Casting directors want it to be a seamless transition from looking at your headshot to seeing you in the room or on tape.

You Might Need Multiple Headshots


Depending on your frequency of self-change, you could argue that you may need multiple headshots at all times. Whether it’s to match a role you’re auditioning for, or whether you’ve recently changed your look, having multiple headshots could be your best option. Here’s a good example: If you are a man that can grow facial hair easily, you should have a headshot with and without it. If you are a woman who wears your hair straight and curly, depending on your mood, have a headshot of both styles. Here are a couple of other reasons you might need to update your headshots.

  • If you change your hair color
  • Get your hair cut or styled your hair in a significantly different way
  • Lose or gain a significant amount of weight
  • Any significant cosmetic changes to your face or body
examples of different "types" for an actor headshot
An example of three different “types” from the same session. Each shot shows a different aspect of the actor’s range and could be submitted for the most relevant rolls.
male headshot with and without facial hair
The same actor, with and without facial hair, can be a completely different “type”.


What Kind of Headshots Do You Need?


If nothing else, you should always have a theatrical and a commercial headshot. Start from there and build your portfolio. Here are some tips for knowing what to do next:

  • Know your type. This can give you great direction when getting headshots done
  • Having different looks can be great for submitting for different rolls.
  • Wear clothes that suggest a specific roll, but don’t wear a costume. You can look like a doctor without actually wearing scrubs in your headshot. Too specific of an outfit can limit the range of use in a headshot.
  • A lot of casting is done online with nothing but a thumbnail. Make sure that your headshot draws a casting director into your face, not your clothes.
  • Your headshot should match your type, and that changes over time. Have a current headshot that looks like you look now.
samples of commercial and theatrical headshots
Three actors with a side-by-side view of their commercial and theatrical headshots. Can you guess which is which?

The Proof is in the Results


Whether you had headshots taken 3 months ago, or three years ago, you need to ask yourself some important questions. Are you headshots really working for you? Are you getting good feedback from casting directors, your agent, or your acting community? Are you getting the opportunity to submit or get yourself in the door? If your headshot isn’t building any traction, it may be time for a change. Remember that it’s important to constantly evaluate how your headshots are working for you. If they are working well, every year or two is fine to update. If they aren’t working, start looking into your options to update your headshots.

Check out our entertainment headshots gallery to see more examples of the styles of headshots that are possible.

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