As modeling and acting have merged more and more, so, too, have their means of communicating information. Where the headshot was once strictly relegated to the actors and the comp cards belonged to the models, the line between the two has become more blurred, making their use even more confusing. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be a puzzle provided you know the purpose of each and how that ties into what each audition is looking for.
Short for ‘composite cards’, comp cards are a quick way to advertise a variety of looks and personalities. Typically paired with your name, body stats and contact information, the comp card is the business card of the arts. Because of this, they are deemed perfect for jobs revolving strictly around modeling or commercial print. They contain the information a modeling company needs to determine if you have what they need for the shoot – a photographic resume in a sense. As a general rule of thumb, if the gig involves any acting, do NOT send a comp card.
Headshots are single photos of the performer’s face with their resume attached to the back. In the same way a spread of your best photos speaks to a photographer, a spread of your roles speaks to your acting prowess and capabilities. It answers the question of if you could potentially fill a specific character. However, because you are relegated to a single picture, it’s virtually useless for modeling and print gigs. Due to this, only use headshots for acting gigs.