Headshot Tips

Should I Smile in My Acting Headshot?

December 12, 2023

One question that consistently pops up in my studio: “Should I smile in my acting headshot?” It’s a puzzle every actor faces, and today, I’m here to unravel it for you. Your headshot is your calling card in Hollywood, and nailing that perfect expression is crucial. The answer depends on what type of role you’re looking for, so let’s find out what truly works for you.

The Power of a Smile

A bright, genuine smile will light up your headshot. As a professional headshot photographer in LA, I know that a genuine grin can convey warmth, and positive energy is always welcome as a first impression. It adds a layer of authenticity to your image, making you relatable and memorable. Remember, Hollywood is not just about talent; it’s about creating a connection with your audience.

But here’s a little secret – it’s not just about any smile, but the right smile. A forced or exaggerated grin can come off as insincere, so we’re aiming for that sweet spot where your smile feels natural and effortless. During your session, we’ll work together to capture the essence of your personality, ensuring your smile speaks volumes about who you are as an actor.

Playing it Cool

Now, let’s talk about the non-smiling headshots. This classic, timeless look has been a staple in the industry for years. The serious expression can convey depth, intensity, and mystery – qualities that can be especially effective for certain roles. Think brooding detective, enigmatic hero, or the mysterious stranger. A well-executed serious expression can catch the viewers’ attention, leaving them intrigued and hungry to see more.

While a serious look can be powerful, it’s not for everyone or every role. It might come off as distant or unapproachable if not executed correctly. As your headshot photographer, I’ll guide you through the process, helping you strike the perfect balance between intensity and relatability. Remember, your headshot is your first impression, and we want it to be unforgettable.

What Are Casting Directors Looking For

Now, let’s take a peek behind the casting director’s curtain. These decision-makers are bombarded with headshots daily, and their time is precious. Smiles, serious looks, and neutral expressions – they’ve seen it all. So, what are they really looking for? It depends on the role.

For light-hearted, comedic roles, a friendly smile can be a game-changer. On the flip side, dramatic and intense characters may call for a serious expression. As your trusted headshot photographer in LA, I stay updated on industry trends and preferences, ensuring your photos align with the current casting landscape. Let’s work together to craft headshots that make casting directors take notice.

Work on a Consistent Image

Your headshot is a crucial element of your personal brand. Consistency is key when it comes to building a recognizable and marketable image. Whether you choose to smile, go serious, or opt for a neutral expression, it’s essential to align your headshots with the brand you want to portray.

During our session, we’ll discuss your goals, the types of roles you’re targeting, and the image you want to project. This strategic approach ensures that your headshots create a cohesive narrative that resonates with casting directors and audiences alike. Let’s tell your story in a way that leaves a lasting impression.

Boosting Confidence

Here’s a little insider tip – a smile can do wonders for your confidence and on-screen presence. When you feel good, it radiates through the lens, creating a magnetic energy that draws people in. Think about it as your secret weapon, giving you that extra edge in auditions and meetings.

I’ve seen firsthand how a confident and approachable headshot can open doors and create opportunities. As your partner in this journey, my goal is to capture a smile that depicts your genuine confidence and charisma. Let’s turn your headshot into a powerful tool that not only reflects your talent but also amplifies your unique presence in the competitive world of Hollywood.


So, should you smile in your acting headshot? The answer lies in the story you want to tell and the role you’re looking to play. As your dedicated headshot photographer in Los Angeles, I’m here to guide you through the process, ensuring your headshots authentically represent the incredible actor you are.

Ready to take the next step? Contact me at Anthony Mongiello Photography, where we turn your headshots into a visual masterpiece that demands attention. Your Hollywood journey starts with a click – schedule your session today and let’s capture the magic that sets you apart in beautiful LA!

About the author

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *