Let’s keep it simple, folks. No one needs to learn multi-variable calculus to understand it.
A headshot is supposed to be an accurate, albeit flattering, depiction of how you currently look. If your headshot is of a windswept, 25-year-old surfer, don’t walk into your audition looking like a geriatric with rickets.
There are 2 types of headshots: commercial and dramatic.
In your commercial headshot, look happy. No one wants to buy a new brand of sod because some apathetic fellow is cheerlessly explaining how it “feels like old sod, but better.” They want to see a fellow who is intensely passionate about introducing this particular denomination of sod to his toesies. They want a fellow who says, “Hey feet! Pucker up, ’cause you’re about to get kissed by the sweetest sod those soles have ever stepped upon!!”
This guy’s got it going on.
Conversely, your dramatic headshot should look moody, serious, and like you’re possibly troubled by semi-repressed memories. Look at it this way: When’s the last time you saw Jack Bauer smile?
This is not to say that dramatic roles require zero smiles. Au contraire, friends and fam. Plenty of them do. But if they only required smiles, they wouldn’t be very dramatic now, would they?
He’s hurting, and it shows. Probably because he was raised by his abusive uncle after his parents were killed in a boating accident. This made him tough, but the old memories make him a softie. You definitely don’t want to get on this big bear’s bad side. Does he have what it takes to make it in the big city? (Somebody pitch this to Paramount already)
So there you go. The 2 types of headshots, neatly summated with a gratuitously cinematic description.
Have a great day!