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The headshot is a staple of model, dancer, and actor portfolios, as well as websites and social media (Facebook, LinkedIn). It can go from the conservative to the creative and everywhere in between. Although ubiquitous and humble, they are, nevertheless, important. It is often the world’s first view of you.

When having yours done, experiment! Get the safe shot – professional, flattering but understated – but also stretch the boundaries just a little. Depending on your profession or ambition, unusual may pay off for you. A striking shot showing your personality may get you remembered.

Keep in mind, though, who you are submitting to. Knowing your target audience is important. Unusual doesn’t work if the recipient has drawn boundaries for what they feel is acceptable. For this reason, you may want to print up a few different looks and market them appropriately.

Headshots also are not limited to studio on solid or gradient backgrounds. Location based headshots can be useful as well.

As a change in pace, I’ve created a slideshow of my favorites, running the gamut from traditional to creative.

Choose a photographer who can work with you, that you are comfortable with, and who is capable of reflecting the real you. And please ┬ádon’t lowball it if a career decision (actor, model, dancer) depends on it. Get your hair and makeup done, enjoy the process (taking your time), and go out afterwards and celebrate. Work with the photographer afterwards (or the retoucher) and get the look that you want. Or looks, as I recommend.

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