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Everything You Need to Know About Headshots and Headshot Photography in Toronto

In entertainment, business, and in many other industries, it’s not what you know but who you know that matters and who knows you. One of the best ways to accomplish this is with a professionally shot photograph of your face and head, otherwise known as a headshot. Headshots are, in a word, vital. To get your name out there and get paid acting and speaking gigs, a well-done headshot is an absolute must! That holds true for business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs, and social media influencers also. Without it, the chances of becoming successful are definitely lowered.

If you’re trying to break into acting or want to start a speaking career, this information is for you! If you’re going to increase your profile on LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media, it’s for you also! Everything You Need to Know About Headshots and Headshot Photography in Toronto has all the info you need to have a great headshot taken. Who to see, where to go, who needs a headshot, and more will be covered, in detail, below. If having a fantastic headshot to hand out (show) when you meet (or are found by) producers to potential clients is your goal, read on!

In every industry, some tools make success more achievable. In the acting and speaking industries and business and marketing, one of the most essential tools is the headshot. More than a simple “selfie,” a headshot is a professional calling card you can give out when the need arises. You can also post your headshot on your social media pages, your website, and in any advertising campaigns you undertake.

If you plan to go into the theatre, star in a TV show or commercial, go into modeling or take up a singing career, the first thing you should do is arrange to have professional headshots taken.

As the name suggests, a headshot is a photograph of your head, usually including the neck and shoulders. (That’s especially true if you have long, beautiful hair.) Professional studios take the best headshots with top photographers who have experience and top-quality photography equipment. (Lighting, backgrounds, cameras, etc.)

The purpose of a headshot is simple; to give anyone who’s interested in you, your services, or your products a clear, unobstructed, and accurate view of your appearance. There are two different types of headshots:

Commercial Headshots

These are used by people looking to land work in print (magazines) and on TV (shows and commercials). Also, business professionals use commercial headshots for their websites, marketing, and promotional activities. Usually, a headshot for this purpose is vibrant and energetic.

Theatrical Headshots

A theatrical headshot is very similar to a commercial headshot. They differ, however, in that they are usually more serious and dramatic. (Producers and casting directors want to see an actor’s dramatic side to know if they fit a role well or not.)

Headshot Standards in Canada

In Canada, the standard headshot is 8 inches by 10 inches. Anything bigger or smaller than this will usually be ignored or tossed away, so it’s vital you get them this exact size. They can be either horizontal or vertical, but there is one caveat; horizontal (landscape) headshots are more difficult to use online. Since internet profiles are prevalent today, a horizontal headshot could prove problematic. (They don’t scale very well, digitally, unfortunately.)

OK, let’s get real for just a moment; if you want to “make it” in the entertainment industry, or any industry for that matter, you need a headshot. In fact, for many jobs and professions, you need a variety of different headshots. Think of headshots like a resume, if you will. A well-written resume will open doors and help you land a fantastic job. One that’s poorly written or wrongly formatted will do just the opposite and prevent you from getting that great job.

Headshots are the same. A well-photographed headshot with perfect lighting, an attractive (low key) background, and an excellent pose will open doors in the entertainment industry. Casting directors and producers will see right away that you’re serious about the part they’re offering or the role they need to fill. Walking into a casting director’s office without a headshot would be like going to a job interview without a resume; it’s simply not done.

Marketing services or products that your company sells? A headshot would be very helpful here, too, so that customers and clients can clearly see your face and you can build trust. (In both yourself and your products and services,)

Headshots are also a lot like branding for a product. For example, if you saw a well-shot photo of a barbecue grill and one of another grill that’s precisely the same, but the picture is poorly lit and grainy, you’d likely choose the former. It’s the same with headshots. They help you brand your most important product; you.

So, again, if making it as a singer, actor, public speaker, voiceover actor, theatre actor, and more, the first thing you need are several headshots that you can use to brand and promote yourself everywhere you go. If you run a business, the same holds true, especially if it’s a startup. A good headshot can make the difference between failure and success.

There are many jobs in the entertainment industry that require you to have a headshot, if not several of them. Here’s the thing; if your face is seen on camera, you need a headshot (or a series of them). Below is a comprehensive list of the people who would need a headshot when applying for a position, a part of a role:

  • Actors in TV and movies.
  • Commercial actors.
  • Voiceover actors.
  • Stage and theatre actors.
  • Men, women, and children who wish to fill any of the above roles.
  • Singers
  • Dancers

Headshots, as we’ve mentioned, are also necessary for:

  • Business owners
  • Public Speakers
  • Startup Companies
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Executives
  • Salespeople of all stripes.

Who are the headshots for? That depends on which industry you’re in (or trying to break into, as they say). If it’s entertainment, a headshot goes to the people who will be doing the casting and hiring. Casting directors need them, as well as producers. Talent agents need them also to promote you.

In business, the main person or people who will appreciate a good headshot are the most important; potential clients and customers. Anyone who has a say in whether you get hired or not should receive one (or more) of your headshots; it’s that simple.

If you’re an actor in Toronto, you need headshots, as we’ve already seen. The acting scene here is one of the most dynamic in North America, rivaling Hollywood, New York, and Atlanta. Many roles need to be filled constantly, and many actors make a fine living working in the industry here.

When you come in to get a headshot or a series of headshots, you’ll be glad to know that all you need to bring is yourself. That’s because everything else you need, including makeup, clothing, and advice, is already here. Lighting, backgrounds, and sound advice about “great looks” are also here, all of which are vital to an excellent headshot.

Most headshot photography studios have professional photographers on staff, of course (although some are better than others). Most also offer headshot packages so that you can get the shots you need without breaking your budget. If you only need one headshot, that’s not a problem. If, however, you need an entire series of headshots with different looks and various backgrounds, you’ll need a headshot studio that offers those services. (Not all of them do.)

Again, all you need to bring is yourself. For example, if you’re having a series of headshots taken, a good studio will have a wide variety of outfits and accessories you can use to make them truly stand out from the rest. That goes for backgrounds as well. The truth is, a good background can make an OK photo look fantastic and bring out your best features. (They can also hide your worst features if needed.)

Some headshot studios also offer to take your photos outside, where you can take advantage of the natural light. (This would depend on the weather, of course.) If needed, some headshot studios can even travel to a local location for your headshot photoshoot, incorporating local scenery to make your headshots more memorable and alive.

When all is said and done, you’ll get the option to have your headshots printed and digital files that you can keep to print more when you need them or post online to social media and other locations. If all goes well, you’ll have headshots that will catch the eye of casting directors, agents, and producers and see new roles start pouring in!

Imagine, if you will, that you’re looking for a new coffee machine. What would you do? Would you purchase the first one you saw, or would you do your due diligence, read reviews and maybe even test a coffee maker or two? We’re guessing it’s the latter because almost everyone these days is a comparison shopper.

It’s the same when you’re looking for a headshot photography studio. You don’t want to pick the first one you see but, instead, look at several of them before making a choice. Below are a few tips on how to find the best headshot photo studio in Toronto:

1- Check Out any Online Reviews about the Headshot Studio

The top headshot photo studios in Toronto will have a solid reputation online, with at least a few positive reviews. They don’t need to have thousands of them, but a handful would be beneficial. If you can’t find online reviews but still want to give a particular studio your business, ask them for references. (Then, of course, contact those references and ask their opinion.) If they don’t have references or positive reviews online, you might want to keep looking.

2- Take a Close Look at their Facebook Page

Most companies, big and small today, have a Facebook page where they keep in touch with clients and promote their products and services. Headshot photo studios in Toronto are no different. The best will have an attractive FB page with shout-outs, advice, and positive comments from followers and clients alike. If the comments you see aren’t positive, or the FB page seems abandoned, scratch them off the list. (Also, remember that not all will have a FB page, especially a newer company. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily bad, though, just that they’re new to the industry.)

3- Ask Friends and Colleagues for References

Depending on who you know, you may be able to ask for references. People who’ve had their headshots taken by a particular photographer can give you their recommendation (or their condemnation) of the photographer they used. This old-fashioned word-of-mouth can be very helpful indeed. For example, you’ll know for a fact that the review is genuine because it comes, as they say, direct from the horse’s mouth.

4- Visit the Headshot Photo Studio and Ask for a Tour

Most headshot photo studios would be more than happy to give you a personal, guided tour of their facility. Simply reach out and ask them to set up a time! It’s one of the best ways to see what they provide and also make sure they’re the professionals they claim to be; with the equipment, knowledge, and experience you’re searching for in a studio,

5- Ask a Talent Agent, Casting Director, or Producer for a Referral

You’ll need at least one contact in the industry to get an opinion, and possible referral, to a top headshot photo studio or photographer in Toronto. If you have one, that’s great! These industry insiders will likely know several studios they can recommend you visit (or shy away from).

Located in lovely Toronto, Canada, latent productions (us) are leaders in the headshot, video production, and photography branding industries. Below are a few of the top reasons to choose us when seeking superior, engaging, and brand-building headshots.

Experience and Skill

As an industry leader, Latent Productions has years of experience to offer. We know what makes a perfect headshot and have the talented people to make it happen.

Top Photography Equipment

Experience and skill are a plus, no doubt, but having the best equipment is also necessary. At latent, we have the best lighting, sound, and photography equipment on the market. Why? For one single reason; to make you look like a star.

Professional Advice

If you’re new to the entertainment, modeling, or speaking industries, it helps to have a friend in the business. Latent Productions is that friend, and we offer solid, actionable advice that can help your career take off.

Industry Contacts

As a leader in the industry, latent has many contacts that can be helpful to your career. When you’re one of our valued clients, we’ll share them with you!

We hope the above information and advice have been worthwhile! If you have questions, need advice, or want to book a headshot photoshoot, please leave your name and contact info below, and a friendly rep will get in touch with you within 24 hours.