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The Essentials
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Why you should remove bad photos from your Spotlight profile…

It’s never been easier for actors to take and upload photos to their Spotlight profile. A lot has changed since the days when Spotlight was a book – now members can upload new photos whenever they wish, and the improved quality of camera phones means you don’t  necessarily need to be in a professional studio to take one. Although we would recommend you do use a professional photographer where possible.

However, all this ease may mean that you reach your maximum photo limit quickly, or have more than the ideal amount of four or five photos on your profile. Deciding which photos to delete can be almost as difficult as deciding which ones to upload in the first place. After all, you wouldn’t have uploaded them if you didn’t think they were good. Here are 10 reasons why a photo could and should be considered for deletion.

1. The photo doesn’t show your current appearance

The main objective of a photo is to show casting professionals what you look like. You don’t want to have old photos from when you were younger or photos which no longer resemble you on your profile. Casting professionals won’t be pleased if you show up to an audition looking nothing like they expected, and they won’t have time to guess which of your photos is the current you.

2. The photo is a ‘selfie’ or temporary photo

Selfies are quick, easy to take, and fun to customise with filters and graphics. But they’re not professional, and your Spotlight profile is, above all else, your CV for applying for acting jobs. Likewise, any temporary or amateur photos you’ve taken yourself as placeholder images should be removed after your professional headshots have been uploaded.

3. The photo is similar to other photos on your profile

It’s easy to delete a photo that has something ‘wrong’ with it, but sometimes it’s necessary to delete the beautiful, high resolution headshots you’ve had taken by professional photographers. Five photos from the same shoot, which have no differences except the colour of the clothes you’re wearing, are not going to be useful to casting professionals. Pick your favourite, remove the rest, and replace them with photos that show the variety of looks you have to offer. Likewise, you don’t need the same photo in colour and black and white.

4. The photo is better suited for social media

Are you on holiday in your photo? Eating a delicious meal, paddling in a tropical sea, posing with a famous landmark, or something else you’re eager to share? If the photo isn’t showcasing you as an actor, then Spotlight isn’t the place for it.

5. The photo is an on set or a red carpet image

Photos like these only serve to demonstrate that you were involved in a production – something casting professionals can already see from the information on your Spotlight profile. The space would be better used for headshots showing the variety of looks you have to offer (e.g. hair tied back, wearing glasses, clean shaven).

6. The photo was uploaded for a specific casting

Sometimes photos are uploaded with a specific casting in mind. You might be applying for a hand modelling job, or something involving pets, a particular skill, or physique. Once this specific casting has ended, don’t forget to remove these photos. You don’t want them taking another casting director’s attention away from the headshots they should be looking at.

7. You have more than one still from the same production

You may want to add a production still to showcase particular productions or performances that you’re proud of. If this is the case, we would recommend keeping these to a minimum. You don’t need more than one still per production. It’s more important to make sure the production is in the ‘Credits’ section of your Spotlight profile, as this information will be searchable to casting professionals. Also consider uploading footage of the performance to your profile as a showreel instead (so long as you have permission to use the footage) so that casting professionals can see you in action.

8. The photo isn’t cropped well

You should be the focus of your image, not the scenery. If you’re standing in front of a beautiful forest, it should be cropped out. If you’re not central in the photo, it should be cropped so that you are. This is particularly important with horizontal photos. If the entire photo is filled with just your face, to the extent where your ears and hair have been cut off, then this is cropped too close. In all these scenarios, you will need to crop your original photo and upload it again, so make sure you delete the old, poorly-cropped version first.

9. The photo quality is poor compared to your other photos

When comparing the photos on your Spotlight profile, you may notice one that isn’t as high quality as others. You don’t want the lower quality photo to bring down the overall quality of your profile, so it’s a good idea to remove it and try to obtain a higher quality file. Perhaps the photo appears low quality because the wrong file has been uploaded? Or perhaps you saved a thumbnail of the photo supplied by your photographer instead of the high resolution version by mistake? It may also be caused by a poor internet connection at the time of upload, so at the very least it’s worth removing from your profile so you can try uploading it again.

10. You have more than five photos on your profile

Based on the feedback we receive from casting professionals, Spotlight always recommends that performers have no more than four or five carefully selected photos on their profile. This is all you need, and the casting professionals who view your profile are likely to look at more. Seeing lots of photos on your Spotlight profile may also give casting professionals the impression that you don’t know what your strengths are as an actor, so make sure you’re asking yourself, ‘What is this photo saying about me? What is it adding to my profile?’ each time you upload one. Show casting professionals that you know what makes a great photo, instead of uploading the maximum number and hoping they might happen to like one.

If a photo is set as your main photo, you will need to choose a new main photo and have it approved by our photo team before you can delete it. You will be able to hide it in the meantime though to prevent it from being visible on your Spotlight profile.

And always remember: if in doubt about whether to upload or remove a photo, ask your agent. They will know how to best represent you.

Take a look at our News & Advice section for more photo tips and profile advice.

Image credit: Cody Scott Milewski / Unsplash