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How to Make an Acting Portfolio With No Experience

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If you have no acting experience or if you want a career on the stage, in films or on television, you will need an acting portfolio. A good portfolio should be done by an experienced, professional photographer. Before you set foot in a photographer's studio, it's important to know what you want from the photo session. Your acting portfolio is your chance to catch the attention of casting directors and be invited to auditions.

Know What You Want

Arrive at your portfolio shoot ready to explain your needs to the photographer. To avoid disappointment, try bringing any shots that you'd like to emulate or a list of actors you admire. This helps the photographer envision your roles so the lights and poses can capture the personality you want to convey.

If this is your first photo shoot, don't be intimidated. It's okay to ask to see the shots throughout the session.


Most actors have at least four photos in their profile, which include the most important headshots. Do a variety of poses and expressions to show your range, such as having your hair up or down, being clean-shaven or with facial hair; using natural lighting or studio lighting.

Performance Shots

When staging performance shots for your portfolio, there are many options to choose from. If you are currently in a production, you may want to have your photographer take shots at a rehearsal or during a performance. If you decide to have the photographer take performance photos, ask permission from the director in advance. You may find that there are many people who need grant permission for performance shots so ask before inviting the photographer. It's worth asking other actors if they are interested in adding new performance shots to their portfolios because you may get a discount if multiple actors are participating in the same shoot.

Different factors to consider for your performance shots include costumes and makeup. If you have a special ability, like juggling fire, tightrope walking, stunt driving, working well with large animals, or anything else that will help you stand out, the performance shot is a great way to stand out and highlight your talents in action.

Whether it's your first acting portfolio or updating an old one, it's important to include a wide range of photos to show your acting and casting range.