Why Update Your Headshot?

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By The Light Committee

You might be thinking that a new headshot is a once-a-decade thing to get. Well, if it is for a driver’s license, perhaps so. But remember that the point of a headshot is to market your current self. Therefore, it must represent who you are, specifically now, and how you are marketing yourself. So, depending on your career goals, this might mean new headshots as often as each six months to around each couple of years. So, why update your headshot that often?

A real estate headshot of a woman in natural light in Glendale, CA
A Good Professional Headshot Can Be the Inviting Difference to Attracting New Customers

Updating Corporate Headshots

First, it is important to point out that a professional headshot is made by a photography professional and not snapped as a selfie from a smartphone or other similar device with a camera. In other words, a headshot is an investment in yourself, to use as a marketing tool. So, it is to be taken seriously if you want to be taken seriously.

If you are in the market for corporate headshots in Los Angeles, you might get away with not needing new headshots but every 2-3 years or so. But this is not always the case. If you change your look, you might need it sooner.

What look changes might call for a new headshot? Did you change your hair style? This could be new facial hair or removal of facial hair. It could mean a new hair color too, not just shortening or growing out hair. Did you change your personal style? This can include the type of clothes you wear, in terms of fashion style Have you gotten prescription glasses or changed them out for a new style? Have you lost or gained noticeable weight? Do you have a new scar or gotten rid of one?

It could also be just that your existing headshot is growing stale – is it the same one people have come across for too many years. Outside of the changes above, in some professions you can get away with not having a new headshot for 2-3 years. But some other professions might be better off having new headshots more often, particularly in those that are very people-facing.

A commercial actor headshot of a woman in natural light near Sherman Oaks
A Good Actor Headshot That Pops with Color Might Be the Difference to Getting in the Door at Castings


So, what are some professions that might consider getting headshots more frequently? Actors, personal financial consultants, dancers, doctors and dentists, lawyers often dealing with new clients face-to-face, models, musician, real estate agents, and so on. There are quite a few professions that might need new headshots more frequently. In their cases, it is not necessarily because their look changed. Often it is to have them for new marketing or job-specific opportunities.

Basically, if you have a business that is directly front-facing with customers – those that pay you directly for services – you might want to be sure your headshot is updated more frequently. This might be each 1-2 years. If you have repeat customers that see you more than once per year, you might want to update your headshot around annually, so customers do not keep seeing an old or stale headshot.

Where will you want to update your headshot? Well, it depends on the business but, in most cases: your company website, LinkedIn, on business cards or signage, in printed brochures, and so on. If you have an office that customers frequent, some professionals will have a printed headshot in a frame on a wall somewhere. This should be kept fresh too.

Then there are professions where a headshot is more important. This includes actors, dancers, models, and musicians. For these professions, a headshot literally defines how you want to be perceived and this can be critical to your career.

The Importance of Updating Your Headshot

Getting the best actor headshots in Los Angeles is important. Getting the best modeling digitals in Los Angeles is also important. And the same is true for dancer headshots and musician headshots. For actors and models, it is literally your resume – the gateway to getting cast for a role or photo shoot. And, as anyone in these professions knows, there is plenty of competition. So, your best effort in every move you make to market yourself is critical.

For dancers, some auditions will require a headshot to go alongside your reel. So, it is good to have one ready to go. For musicians, you can use it to brand your identity as a musician. For example, this might be a photo of a trumpet player with his or her trumpet or a singer with his or her favorite mic.

For actors and models, it is important to get new headshots as frequently as every 6-12 months. However, it is important to point out this is more an exception than the norm. So, why might you need headshots more frequently?

First, if you are regularly getting booked with your headshots, keep it going. You might consider not updating your headshots until it is broken, meaning the rate of landing castings noticeably slows. But, if you are not getting gigs, either at all or very little, you might consider changing up your headshots.

It is not that a new headshot can fix not being considered for castings. Obviously, there are many other factors that might be at play – a good manager, acting skills, your look at the moment, and so on. But a headshot is indeed one factor too.

First, be sure the quality of your headshot is good. Compare the results of many headshot photographers with your own headshots. Do your existing headshots beat most others? Ask non-actor and actor friends for candid advice. The quality of the photographs might actually be top notch and that is not it. In other words, perhaps you have been working with the right photographer but the character you are trying to get across did not shine through in the last headshot session. Or the background is too much. Just try, try again until you find the headshots that start to resonate better.

Professional Headshots

Again, if you have made the mistake of using a smartphone selfie as a headshot, stop it. Do not do it. It is bad business. Why settle for the inferior quality of a smartphone that most people carry around in their pockets when a headshot is so important? Go out and make it different. Get professional headshots in Los Angeles – it is too competitive out there to play around. That goes for any large market like Los Angeles – New York, Chicago, Houston, Miami, and so on.

A headshot is a picture of your face. It is different than a portrait or some random picture of you and that is why it is given its own name. Your headshot is an investment so you can use it for professional marketing. As a result, making them requires a professional photographer. It requires solid equipment that includes high-end camera bodies and lenses, as well as a solid understand of lighting. And, despite some advice to the contrary, it also requires post-production skills for retouching. There is nothing wrong with retouching away some acne that will naturally go away in a week anyway, or a fly-away hair, lint, and so on.

Your headshot photographer and the quality they produce are a direct reflection of the quality of you or the service you are trying to provide, be it an actor or attorney. So, a selfie? No. Be professional. Update your headshot and keep them current by working with a professional photographer as needed.

One hinderance to getting head shots that some people believe is that some photographers charge a lot. True, some charge hundreds to even thousands of dollars for sessions, just for one or two headshots. But not all of them do. With a little homework, there are good headshot photographers to be found in all large markets.

Compared with the fact most people will only need new headshots each couple of years, if you find a photographer with a good price, the influence your headshot might have in getting you that next gig or customer is very much a worthwhile expense.