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Commercial Headshots vs. Theatrical Headshots

Updated: Jan 12

The big difference between commercial and theatrical Headshots is they are used for different things. Commercial headshots are typically more approachable and showcase a friendly, relatable look, suitable for roles in advertising or corporate settings. Theatrical headshots, on the other hand, aim to convey a range of emotions and capture the actor's dramatic potential, making them suitable for film and television roles that involve storytelling and character depth.

There are situations where a headshot can be used for both for example, a bright, fun commercial headshot with a lot of personality could be submitted for a sitcom. Theatrical shots often times (but not always) reflect a little more of the actors personality, which may be needed for some commercials that require authenticity. As with many things involving Headshots, there isn’t one blanket rule that applies to all. Casting directors will have different opinions on what they like in a headshot as well agents and managers. If you have representation, you always want to consult with them before your headshot session to see if they have any specific needs.


Commercial Headshots

1. "A great commercial headshot should exude approachability and warmth, making the viewer feel a connection instantly."

2. "Clear and genuine expressions are key—avoid overly posed or forced smiles, and aim for a natural, friendly demeanor."

3. "Choose wardrobe that aligns with the brand you might represent, and keep it simple to let your personality shine through."


Here are some general insights that casting directors often value for theatrical headshots:

1. "A compelling theatrical headshot captures the essence of the actor, conveying a depth of emotion and a range of characters they can portray."

2. "Look for authenticity—expressions that feel genuine and resonate with the complexity of human emotions."

3. "Wardrobe choices in theatrical headshots should reflect versatility, allowing casting directors to envision the actor in a variety of roles."



Remember, these are broad principles, and individual preferences may vary among casting professionals.




Theatrical Headshot by Stephanie Girard
Theatrical Headshot by Stephanie Girard



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