The SECOND Worst Headshot Contest

[The first entries are already in]

A while back, a friend of mine gave me a great idea; hold a “worst” headshot contest.  Enlist performers to share the worst images that they’ve ever used at an audition along with their stories.  Then have people vote, and see what happens.  So I did.

And the result was amazing.

A performer named Richard Esteras came through with 181 votes.  We met, shot some great pictures of him, and he posted a few of his favorites to Facebook…. where he got noticed.  Since then, Richard has gone on to perform in almost a dozen independent movies.

Richard Esteras, understated

Richard Esteras, from our shoot

Now I need to point the obvious out: Just because I shoot you, it doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically end up getting cast in a dozen films.  However, I think that my track record of the past year is pretty darned good. A lot of people that I’ve shot have gotten noticed.

You still have to do the work. But it all starts with a great headshot.  So lets start a new contest. Send in any photo that you’ve used on an audition, or your worst headshot, and I’ll post it in the gallery.  Is there a story behind it that you’re willing to share?  Send me the story too.
I’ll post your picture within 24 hours.  Voting is ongoing.  At the end of February 2015, at midnight CST, the person with the most votes wins a free headshot session.

Its that simple.
Oh… and if you don’t win? I’ll send you a coupon for $75 off of the normal price of a headshot with me.

Not convinced yet? If you have your headshot taken by me before the end of February, pay me, and then get the most votes on your old headshot?  You not only get your money back, but you’ll get a small gift from me.  Cause that’s how I roll.

So show me how bad headshots can be.
(As if I haven’t seen already.)

Akilah’s Entry

(If you’re interested in entering the “Worst” photo-that-you-turned-in-as-a-headshot contest, click on the link in the banner, above.)


Akilah Perry

Akilah Perry

Took these as a college freshman and used it for any email submissions.

Thanks, Akilah, for sharing!
We’re now at the halfway point. Voting ends at the end of June.

Two new entries

The entries in the “Worst Headshot” contest continue to roll in.

If you want to enter (or just want to know what its all about) click on the link in the banner, above.


Candace Taylor Snapp

Candace Taylor Snapp

I visited my sister over a long weekend, dyed my hair from blonde to dark brown, and suddenly received a few auditions for the following Monday.
In a quick effort to have head shots ready with my new hair color, I had my sister take this photo on a cheap camera and then I printed the images at AB Photo when I got back to the city. It was really sunny outside so my eyes look freaky—and one of them is smaller than the  other—and the image is obviously blurry. I used this HS for about a month and then paid for some good ones.


Becky Simo

Becky Simo

Yes, I did actually take this to an audition. No, I do not know what I was thinking. It was taken with my cell phone camera, I’m wearing a t-shirt and I don’t know what you’d call that facial expression.

Again, I’d like to thank everyone who’s shared their images with everyone, not to mention their reasoning.
You are clearly not alone.

Lynn and John’s entries…

If you want to enter the “worst” picture-you-ever-turned-in-as-a-headshot, contest, click on the link on the banner (above) for details.


Lynn Sciaraffa

Lynn Sciaraffa

Here is the worst headshot I ever sent in. It was for a Nutrisystem spokesperson spot. Needless to say I never even received a call to audition!


John Mobley

John Mobley

This was taken for the programs for a community college show. It was at an actual studio. I can’t recall the photographer’s name, nor would I want to, because as you know John, my hair is not red.

(Disclaimer: I know John, but will not be voting for him, in order to remain fair.)

Please vote for your favorite. And as always, I appreciate everyone who’s entered just to admit that it wasn’t their best day.

Scott’s entry…

Another entry into the “worst” headshot contest.  This one, by Scott.

If you’re interested in entering, go here to read the backstory and how to enter.
If you want to vote, click  “VOTE” on your favorite.


Scott Merchant

Scott Merchant

…I thought I’d throw in my awful headshot prior to 2007. This was what I used auditioning for community theatre in Colorado.

There is still time to enter.  The contest ends at the end of June.

More entries in the “Worst Headshot” contest

If you want to enter this contest, go to the original post and read through the rules.
All of the entries are in the gallery below. You can only vote once.

Jon Becker

Jon Becker

Jon Becker:

I took this “headshot” with a Palm Pilot’s built-in camera in a Kinko’s parking lot (immediately before printing it inside said Kinko’s) in Pleasant Hill, CA on the way to an audition for a short film in Santa Cruz. I somehow managed to land a part, but the production never happened. The quality is just mesmerizing.




This headshot was taken with a cell phone in the summer of 2008.

This contest ends at the end of June. So if you have an headshot that you kinda regret, there is still time to share it, and win a headshot in the process.

The first entries into my “worst headshot”, headshot giveaway

If you haven’t read about my “worst headshot” contest, you can read about it here.

You can start voting now!  If you like an entry, just click “Vote” on that entry in the gallery, below.  You can only click on it once.  Sorry, I don’t know how to change your vote… so get it right!

Here’s the entries, and a little bit of back story on each.

Janice R.

Janice R.


My first headshot was adorable, but so terribly unprofessional (I used it for at least two years?!). My thought process was, I thought it looked “commercial”. It’s from a BBQ.
I would add my name to the bottom when I printed them glossy style at CVS.  😛




I am attaching a ‘headshot’ I ended up taking of myself for a last minute audition application I may or may not have found on craigslist.  It was the first time I had thought about acting again since moving home and shaving my head.  I had no other current photos, and for some reason I thought I would wear a grimy tank top and go out into the blaring sun, pockmarked and flushed.  And I think the worst part is that I actually thought it was a flattering photo at the time. Sigh…  Cest la vie.

Selene Montijo

Selene Montijo


I actually used this more than once. Imagine handing this to casting directors.. Taken on my Nikon camera..

Huge props to the performers for sharing these with us!  -And thanks so much for the backstories.

There are more to come.

And yes, you can still enter.  Just e-mail me the worst image that you’ve ever used as a headshot.  If you include a story (as above) please let me know if you are okay with me sharing it, along with how you want your name to appear.

I’ll send you a link after adding your image to the gallery.


Show me the worst picture you’ve used as a headshot, and Win one!



Yes; I actually used this pic as a headshot a long time ago.

It happens every time.
I’m an auditor at an audition.  As people hand in their resumes and headshots, I try not to look.  Because I know that someone is going to turn in a photo that was taken from their cell phone and printed on normal paper from their desktop printer. Or they’ll turn in a photo that was taken like… a decade ago.  Or a picture that their friend who’s learning photography has taken.  Quite naturally – as a photographer – I cringe.

Usually, one of the other auditors will say something. But I keep my mouth shut, because there is literally nothing I can do about it.

At least until now.

This is a contest. Its one where we get to all have a little bit of fun, and confess the worst shot that we’ve used as a headshot.  You e-mail me the image, and I’ll post it to a gallery like the one, below, and send you a link to it.  I’ll add other images to the gallery as I get them until the end of June.

Anyone can vote for the worst of the worst.  The person with the most votes for the “worst” image on July 1st gets a free headshot package from me.  Its that simple.
I feel like I’m setting the standard with the image, above.  I took that picture while I was attending college, as a self-portrait.  Years later, I needed a headshot.  I pulled that out of storage.  Beat that.

Now I know what you’re thinking:  what if someone cheats?  I am adding some safeguards.  I won’t tell you what they are.  I will say this, however; don’t take this too seriously, and please don’t cheat!  I have no problem with you lobbying your friends to vote for you.  But don’t hire your hacker-friend to do something nasty to my website… please!  This is just for fun!

One last caveat;  if you hire me to take your headshot before the contest ends, and you “win”, I’ll refund the cost of your headshot.  Yep… I’d do that.

So go dig in your filing cabinet and/or cell phone and find a copy of that picture that you used. It should be in digital form.  (If you need me to scan it… I can do that too.)

Just e-mail me your worst headshot, with a short description…

…And Win A Headshot.

*This only applies to people in the Chicago area.  I’m not traveling to Canada to fulfill this contest.  The value of a headshot package is $250.   But to someone who’s about to get a phone call from a casting agent?  Its priceless.