Thanks to social networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, having an image that represents you online has become commonplace.
Do you have a professional headshot and is your voice working with your image?
Gain a new appreciation for how your voice works with your visual brand thanks to insight (and practical tips!) from Jessica Myhr of Inherent Style.
Everyone has style. The question is, do you know yours, and, is it consistent with how you want to be known?
Jessica Myhr of Inherent Style believes that branding has to do with your integrity and authenticity as an artist. Myhr began her career in the advertising and licensing world where she learned how to translate art into product. She now uses those same gifts helping people to discover their own inherent style, including voice-over artists.
Finding Your Style
What does your voice sound like? How do people feel when they hear it?
Those are just a couple questions you’ll want to ask yourself when determining your style.
Now, what if your vocal style could expand to include a visual component?
One practical way to form your visual style is to explore the world of fashion, identify pieces that you like and then consider replicating those choices in your own wardrobe.
Jessica says, “The best part about style inspiration is that it is free. One of the things I have my clients do is create a stylebook. One of my VO clients put together a visual book about what her voice sounded like. She had a clear, sparkly voice. She loved this blue color and it was like water. We created a look in her headshot session that embodied those things.”
Creating Your Own Style Book
Pinterest and Instagram are excellent sources for seeing what other people are wearing. Here are four steps Jessica shared that will help you assemble your book and discover your personal style.
- Go to Pinterest or Instagram and search for clothing and accessories you like
- Jot down what you are really drawn to style wise (color, shape, texture)
- When you notice someone’s style you admire, see if there is anything they’re doing that you can recreate out of your own wardrobe
- Find your style icons- people who speak to you whose image you want to emulate
Jessica reminds us that what we wear is completely within our control. She states, “You choose every day. So, what do you want to say? A great outfit tells someone about that person from the inside out.”
But I’m in Voice Over… Do I Really Need a Headshot?
Did you know that every professional using social networks needs a headshot?
Many voice actors continue to question whether or not their look should matter because people are just hearing their voices. While that may hold true so far as MP3 files go for auditions, it certainly isn’t the case when being found via search or in directories of talent where headshots are par for the course.
Still not convinced?
4 Guidelines for a Great Headshot
- Looks like you on your best day
- Captures a fully realized, alive moment
- Tells us something about you and how to cast you
- Makes us want to know more about you
Jessica recognizes that being your best self and having an image that communicates that will help you to book more roles. If you have multiple images, maintain some degree of consistency to unify your visual style.
How Style Plays into Voice Casting
We’ve talked before about how casting is all about selection, not rejection. While image plays a greater role in casting for on-camera actors, remember that the sound of an actor’s voice and how they interpret a script plays a greater role in casting voice talent than anything else.
Look matters just as much for on-camera talent as sound does for voice actors.
Just like a casting director can tell from an actor’s headshot if they’re right for the role, how you sound will be evident in the first few seconds to a trained ear.
What are people listening for to determine the “how” of your sound? Your voice type and voice age will be obvious followed by the general attitude behind what you’re saying.
According to Jessica, as personal as your image is to you, it is not personal to casting. They are casting you based on a picture and hoping you will solve their problem. Actors don’t lead with their training, but their image. If they call you in for a part and you don’t look like your picture, it’s as arbitrary as the casting person ordering pizza for lunch and instead the delivery guy brought them a salad.
The Age Old Question: Logo or Headshot?
You might be sitting on the fence with this one, so I thought we’d take a closer look at the whole logo versus a picture question. Voice artists pride themselves on being chameleons of sorts, being able to sound differently for a given role be it voice age, vocal range, accent or otherwise.
The general thinking is that if clients form a picture of you in their heads by listening to your voice, will a picture ruin that? When is it appropriate to use a logo versus a headshot?
Studies on LinkedIn say that people are not as interested in you if your profile doesn’t have an image.
If you haven’t been using an image, why not try it? Even if it is just for a couple months. So far as the kind of images go, take a cue from images that work on LinkedIn.
Jessica shared, “The photo should look like you – you’re interviewing for a job – you want to look confident, trustworthy, approachable. What would it hurt for a couple of months if you tried to use an image? You need to be selective about the images you choose. When you do a variety of things, there still needs to be some consistency. This should still feel like you, no matter what the image is trying to convey. Give someone a sense of you when they are looking through the database. On Voices.com, you only have one image that you can feature, but if you have your own website, use as many as you see fit. On your Voices.com profile, use an image that best reflects your niche so that you can attract more of that kind of work.”
Tips from Jessica
- Artists often need more than one image to represent them
- Have one leading image that you use consistently
- If you can only use one, lead with the image that best represents your voice’s essence and the niche you book the most work in to attract more of the same
- If you’re mostly doing animated voices, an animated profile pic might be a strong choice
- Regardless of what image you choose, make sure that it is an image that we can connect with you
Do You Use a Headshot?
Why or why not? Also, if you have created a style book, did you find that this helped you?
Looking forward to your reply!
P.S. If this kind of image work interests you and you feel like you need more assistance in getting professional photos created or developing your personal brand email Jessica for more information about her services and virtual offerings.
Watch this short, 2-minute video to meet Jessica of Inherent Style and get a better appreciation for how she can help you.