New Comedians: How to Choose a Bio Photo

Last week, I covered the topic of How to Write a Bio When You Have Nothing to Brag About Yet. This week I want to talk about choosing your comedy bio photo or headshot.

The first thing I’d like to point out is that if you’re brand new to comedy, there is about a 1 in a fofillian chance that you will make any real money at it for at least ever, so please don’t dip into your savings or pick up extra shifts so you can spend bunches of money on a professional headshot, before you’ve stepped on stage a few times. Even if you have a photographer friend or connection to a new photographer who will do it for tens of dollars (that’s awesome, btw), it might be a good idea to wait a couple of months until you’ve figured out the direction of your brand.  In the meantime, just take a nice photo for free or choose from one you already have. But which one do you choose? Here’s a few tips:

How to Choose Your Comedy Bio Photo

  • So you look super cute in this one photo, but you had to crop out your asshole ex. Sure there’s a random around your shoulder but, hey, super cute! Nope, don’t do this. Pick a different photo.
  • Make sure there are no people or objects in the background (or foreground) that will distract from you, the star of the photo.
  • Avoid giving a full body shot unless it’s a super cool pic. try to go for your upper body and face only.
  • Get your whole face in there. Sure, that shadowy close up of your eye and left nostril is super artsy but it’s not ideal for your bio pic.
  • Choose a recent photo. Please don’t go with one from twelve years ago because that’s the last time you took a good pic.
  • Choose a photo that looks like you. This is something that I struggled with. I don’t usually wear makeup on stage or ever. But did I really want my makeup-free face plastered across social media and posters? In the end I went with a pic of me without makeup. In the future, I may choose to wear minimal makeup, but I’ll make sure to go with a photo that still looks like me.
  • Your photo does not need to be goofy just because you’re a comedian. You may wish to include a prop, silly pose or out-there facial expression but don’t do so just because you want to prove you’re a comedian.
  • Don’t use your LinkedIn profile pic, if you have a stuffy day job, unless you wear office attire on stage, and it’s part of your persona. Try to get a photo that captures your personality. Whereas your LinkedIn profile pic is probably doing it’s best to hide your after-hours self.

The above list are basic tips for choosing a bio pic. When you are ready for your photo shoot, here are a couple of additional tips:

  • Get at least one on a white or neutral background. This will make designers’ lives much easier when trying to add you to a poster or other imagery.
  • Save your photos in both print and digital res.
  • If a newer photographer did a shoot for you to help build their portfolio, give them credit. The first time you share your pic, tag them and tell people how awesome they are. Occasionally, share it and tag them again.

When you are ready to invest in a headshot, read these tips on getting a pro headshot, written by personal branding photography expert Jen Grachow of JnK Imagery.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you’re new to comedy and have additional questions about free to email

Darcia Armstrong is a stand-up comic with a style that’s been described as “Story telling with punchlines”- whatever that means. She is a Second City graduate of both the stand-up program and comedy writing program, and has performed on some incredible stages across the Ontario, including the common rooms in women’s shelters. Darcia was a semi-finalist at Comedy Brawl Toronto 2018 and a finalist in Clash of the Comics. She co-produces several shows across the GTA as part of Black Sheep Comedy, and can be seen as a regular guest host of Comedy Appetizer .

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