What does a casting shot have to do?
To begin with it has to be a headshot. That is to say it's not a hair shot, your favourite tee-shirt shot or a hand shot. It has to look like you and it has to be right in the middle of your visual stereotype. We are are all stereotypical whether we like it or not. Look at the person opposite you on the bus and try and work out their age, ethnic origin, income bracket and job. I bet you come up with some sort of answer. Casting from pictures is based on what you look like. At that stage a casting director doesn't care whether you can act or not.
On top of looking like you and being in the middle of your visual stereotype, add the ingredients of drama, sex, rock and roll, then light it well, compose the picture beautifully and then you have a great casting shot for you.
How important is your casting shot?
When I asked agents whether they could get their client into an audition without a decent picture one replied "not if they weren't a name" another said "Imposssible!". One agent replied "How important is oxygen to the human race". A good casting shot hopes to get you through the first stage of the audition process. The consensus of opinion was that without a decent headshot your chances of getting into the right casting are negligible.
Don't just take my word for it. Bonnie Gillespie is an American casting director and has written many articles about good and bad headshots. Though the style is a little different to our market much of what she says applies to our headshots as well.
There is also a great video by one of the best US headshot photographers Pete Hurley about how you should prepare for your shoot.
What does it take to get a great headshot
I'm just writing to let you know how very pleased I was/am with them and how all in my year, and my teachers included, pick my headshot out as the best quality in the year. Just thought you'd like to know how impressed all were ( though you may get this all the time! ) and how I will of course be back in due course for updated ones!