Lets face it, your resume and your headshot is your calling card in the entertainment industry. When an agent or a producer is looking for new talent, they put out the word through various mediums that you should contact them using the standard procedure of sending these items to the address that they specify. Generally, this process will not involve “knowing someone” or any of the networking styles of getting gigs. Instead, your potentially being considered for this job is based upon the presentation that you make through these two forms of media. They are looking for specific things, and they want to either consider or eliminate you from consideration based on if you possess the things they are looking for. Your resume is going to illustrate your experience level, and tell them if you have experience in the areas they are seeking. Your headshots are the presentation of your physical appearance, and are going to tell them if you look the way they want you to look or not. While your headshot is necessary to give them basic information about the specifics of your physical appearance, it also is going to tell them if you are serious or not.
Producers and casting agents do not want to hire people who are not serious about their craft. Unprofessional people are difficult to direct and work with, and are generally problematic as far as the smoothness of the production schedule. Just having one unprofessional person on a set can cost thousands of dollars if that person plays a pivotal role in the progress, so when an agent casts for a role or gig they are seeking people who will not compromise their productions, as well as those who look a certain way. When you present your headshots to them for consideration, you are telling them that if you are not willing to take the time and effort to provide a professional headshot you are also probably not serious about being an entertainer. Through conveying this message, you are probably eliminating yourself from a great deal of work.
The solution to this issue is simple, have professional headshots taken by a professional photographer who specializes in headshots. This is not simply a person who has done portrait photography, because they also must understand the standards that come with a headshot, and what is expected. If the headshot they take is not within the standards that are expected by potential employers, it may say to them that you are not willing to follow the rules, and are difficult to direct. Your headshot must fit within the standards of the industry, and must do the best job possible at conveying your strong features while also downplaying your weak ones. It must show you in the way you typically look, but without the retouching that many portraits will use to make a photograph better. If the person who shows up for the casting call looks different than the heavily photoshopped image that was sent, the agent will realize you wasted their time. Hire the best headshot photographer you can, and work with them to produce the images you need. Only a professional presentation will get a job.