/Nail Your Audition! How to Touchup Your Acting Headshot in Photoshop
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Nail Your Audition! How to Touchup Your Acting Headshot in Photoshop

The first hurdle to overcome when you’re trying to make it into showbiz is a great headshot. It’s going to be the first thing that the auditioner is going to look at when you hand them your resume so it needs to make a good impression.

This means you probably shouldn’t take the picture yourself or have someone else take it but having professional photos done can be expensive. You can overcome this hurdle if you know how to use Photoshop to make your headshot pop.

In this article, we’re going to go over how to touch up your headshot in Photoshop so you can make an impression on a budget.

1. Taking the Headshot 

Before you start touching the headshot up you need to take it. Doing this isn’t as simple as taking a selfie on your phone. There are a few things that you have to keep in mind. 

The first thing to note is that your eyes are the windows to your soul. You need to take the photo (or have it taken) in a way that will draw attention to them. 

You’ve probably heard someone say “capture my good side” this refers to getting the right angle. If you’re a woman you’ll want to have the photo taken with the camera pointed a little down to make your eyes look bigger. If you’re a male, have it taken slightly up. 

The struggle is that you want to do all of this while also making the photo look completely natural. Now that you’ve taken or had a friend take a headshot that you’re happy with, it’s time to break out Photoshop. 

2. Sharpen Your Eyes

Again, the eyes are the window to the soul so it’s important that you use Photoshop to bring more attention to them. You don’t want to go too extreme, but you do want to sharpen them up a bit. 

First, you’ll want to open a new layer and label it something like “eyes” or “sharpened eyes”. Once you’ve done this, you’ll select the Sharpen Tool which is located right under the Eraser Tool. 

Before you start painting over your irises go to the Options bar in the top and make sure that the boxes labeled “Protect Detail” and “Sample All Layers” is checked and then set your sharpen strength to about 20 percent. This is so you can gradually sharpen the eyes instead of going full force. 

3. Smooth Your Skin and Get Rid of Blemishes

Blemishes don’t look that great in any photo let alone your professional headshot. Sure, you can use makeup to cover it but too much makeup will leave your face looking cakey and half the time it doesn’t completely cover problem areas. 

Photoshop can be a natural cover up for these pesky pimples or acne scars.

All you have to do is click on the Healing Brush Tool or Spot Healing Brush tool and click on the area. Photoshop can also make your skin look smoother so it’s an all-around great facial treatment. 

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Grab the Lasso Tool and select the area you want to smooth out. Put it on its own layer and then use the Blur Tool on it. You don’t want to go too extreme with it so just use it on its type 1 px. 

4. Whiten Your Teeth

Unless you heavily use whitening strips or just came back from the dentist, your teeth probably aren’t going to be perfectly white in your headshot if you’re smiling. Photoshop can rectify this for you.

Open up a Hue/Saturation layer and click on the Targeted Adj tool. Click on your teeth and then drag to the left until they are as white as you want them to be. Doing this won’t get rid of any of the yellow spots so you’ll need to either press Cmnd-1 (for MAC users) or Ctrl-1 (for PC users) to invert the layer mask to black. 

Choose a soft brush by pressing B on your keyboard and carefully paint over your teeth to remove any yellowing. 

5. Slim Down if You Want 

You can also use Photoshop if you want to make your face look a little slimmer. We recommend not going too heavy with this though. Just drop enough to make it look like you’ve lost five pounds or so. 

Press Cmnd A (if you’re using a MAC) or Ctrl-A (if you’re using a PC) and select your entire face. Click on the Free Transform Tool and drag inward a little bit. Make sure you set it on below 5 percent in the Options bar or you’ll do too much and end up looking like a Zombie. 

6. Fix Any Overshadow

Taking your headshot outside can lead to some really great shots but sometimes Mr. Sun decides to get in the way and cause overshadow. It’s not too hard to get rid of this.

Go to Image, then Adjustments, and and then Levels, this will pull up sliders that you can play around with.  The left one is for dark shades, the right for brighter ones, and the middle one determines which way the image inclines. 

You’re going to be removing shadows so you’ll want to place the middle slider in a place that limits the darker areas and brings more attention to the lighter ones. This means you’ll want to push it to the left.

When you’re done your image might look a tad bit faded but you can fix this by going to the same place you went before and instead of clicking on Levels, click on Brightness/Contrast and slide the contrast bar slightly to the right. 

Getting the Perfect Headshot in Time for Your Audition 

When you hand your resume over to an auditioner the first thing they will look at is your headshot. This means that you need to make sure that it makes a great impression. Use these tips for touching up your headshot in Photoshop to save a bit of money on hiring a professional. 

Before you can start editing your headshot, you have to be able to know your way around Photoshop tools. Keep reading for a helpful guide. 

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