What is the difference between model headshots and actor headshots?

At times, there can be little to no difference between model headshots and actor headshots — as they are both focused on highlighting a person’s face.

However, the differences between the two types of headshots can be huge.

Actor headshots are intended to be a real-life representation of a person’s face and features. It is vital that the actor’s headshot resembles the actor.

This means natural make-up (if applicable) and little to no photo retouching. Certainly nothing that alters natural & permanent features of the face, such as old scars or wrinkles.

Model headshots tend to be more artistic and generally flatter the subject with liberal use of lighting, make-up, composition, and angles.

These are the “glamour shots” or “beauty shots” used for marketing purposes in modeling portfolios (both old school comp cards and the newer digital “ipad portfolios”). Model headshots are professionally retouched to remove “flaws” and create a more aesthetically pleasing photograph.

While model headshots tend to be flattering, they should not be confused with the natural no make-up headshots of a model that are intended to show a model’s skin and complexion.

Is it ok to get your headshots retouched?