sign up for our

Home Shop Subscribe Advertise Articles Directories Classifieds Calendar FAQs Contact Us Login

Do You Need A Headshot To Market
Voice Over? No - Let Clients Imagine ...
September 9, 2014

By Kate McClanaghan
Voice Talent & Coach, Sound Advice

A good headshot and résumé is the common calling card of a professional talent pursuing on-camera or stage work. In fact, you can’t land commercial representation from a talent agent without first having a really good headshot and a decent résumé.

Like your voice over demo, the headshot is your first opportunity to let the on-camera agent know whether you are up to speed as a talent. It’s a dead giveaway as to whether you know what you’re doing in this business. It defines you - it types you.

One casting director put it this way, "Your headshots are a marketing tool. They must sell your type.”


But in voice over, you're selling your voice. So is a headshot necessary there? In a word, no.

You don’t need a headshot to land voice over work, though many local talent agents will probably ask you if you’re also interested in pursuing on-camera work, especially if that agent happens to handle both voice over and on-camera, as many do.

If you are interested in on-camera work, then it’s imperative your headshot look like YOU, the person walking into the room to audition. Just as your voice over demos should sound like you. You are promoting who you are and defining the sort of work you intend to land.

If you’re pursuing a career in both on- and off-camera work, you should include your voice over demo on your acting and listing websites, such as

And, yes, if necessary you should pay for it! It’s the price of doing business. 

Including your demo in both of these locations, especially in lieu of having a short (effective/appropriate) on-camera segment to serve as what you do best on screen, your voice over demo will offer greater insight into who you are as a professional talent and your true aesthetic level. 


However, I never recommend that you include a headshot on your voice over web page. 

In voice over, we want to imagine what you look like - not actually see what you look like as a voice over. 

Suspend the imagination of your potential employers for as long as you possibly can. Otherwise your client will ultimately be listening with their eyes and not their ears … and that’s always a deal killer in voice-over. 
Kate McClanaghan is the founder of Sound Advice, a full-service voice over training/demo production company for talent of all skill levels. She’s the author of The SOUND ADVICE Encyclopedia of Voice-over & the Business of Being a Working Talent, which is currently in it’s third edition. She is also a busy casting director/producer with Big House Casting & Audio in both Los Angeles and Chicago, which produces commercials, corporate industrials and web content, ADR, sound sweetening, games and voice talent casting.

Web (Sound Advice):

Your Daily Resource For Voice-Over Success
Tell Us What YOU Think!
Please Note: Since we check for spam, there will be a slight delay in the actual posting of your comment.
Your Name:
Your Email Address (will not be published):
Your Comment:
Your Comment:
Security code:     
Comments (6)
Debbie Grattan
9/13/2014 at 12:55 PM
Personally, I'm in the opposing camp for this one. In the past, it used to always be considered a "no no" for a VO actor to use their face/headshot for marketing. But in today's world, of social networking, blogging, and branding, where our thumbnail photo is part of how we're recognized, I think a photo representation is expected. We want to see who we're talking to, and who is talking to us. In a business transaction, I think it's helpful to put a face with a name and service.

I also think it depends a lot on what type of VO work you're after. If you're just interested in major national TV spots and network promos, then maybe keeping the illusion of your physical identity a secret is a good thing. But in the nuts and bolts of corporate video, web video, IVR, non-broadcast, and local market TV and radio, where VO talent are dealing directly with their clients, and not through an agent, I think it's a plus to have your smiling face out there on your calling card (i.e. your FB page, Linkedin page, Twitter feed, personal website, email signature and any other place you hang your shingle for biz). You don't have to put it on your home page, but maybe on a bio page, tucked away on your site.

I think it helps if your face is also a good representation of the sound of your voice (if that makes sense) and also presents an attitude that is friendly and easy to work with.

But like a lot of things, there is room for more than one opinion. I think it's a personal choice. Since I've done a lot of on-camera acting, I've always had some form of photo representation...but it wasn't always on my VO demo.
Terry Daniel
9/11/2014 at 7:03 AM
In my opinion, a headshot makes your website look more warm and personable. And if you're sharing your site on Facebook, a headshot will get more views and likes than a logo or a microphone.
Nicola Redman
9/11/2014 at 4:34 AM
Interesting, this topic has come up twice this week in my VO circle. I've just taken pic of my business cards and think I might remove a few from my website, but I think a nice friendly looking face gives a good impression to people in terms of what you might be like to work with? Maybe that's an outdated concept.
Dave Courvoisier
9/11/2014 at 1:20 AM

I like your arguments, and I understand...but I disagree, and I've blogged about it at least 3 times. It's the kind of thing professionals can disagree about, and I've read & participated in a lot of those conversations.

My opposing viewpoint centers around common human curiosity. If you don't include the headshot, people will look. They'll look online (FB?) for a picture...which often is not your best side. Why not beat them to the punch and give them a pro headshot from the start?

Here's the URL to my most recent article, just last month:

If people see your face, and they think it doesn't match your voice in their mind, then accuse them of discrimination. :)

Your professional demeanor should rise above their bias. If it doesn't... do you really want them for a client?

Dave Courvoisier
Dorian Taylor
9/11/2014 at 12:42 AM
Thank you for this. What about VO-only pay-for-play sites like, Voice123 etc.?
Joe Wegmann
9/9/2014 at 11:56 AM
What if the client likes what they hear and SEE? Possible isn't it? And it would become increasingly difficult to keep your looks under wraps as your business grows and you become more in demand? Successful talent aren't missing a beat because they've posted a headshot. If so, they would have figured that out and taken the photo down.
Back to Articles
Inspiring interviews help your VO career
Email alerts to new VoiceOverXtra articles
Get your bi-weekly dose here ... all things VO!
For essential voice-over business strategies