HOW I SHOOT
Shooting for Success
I could photograph you without knowing anything about you. And we'd get some really great pictures. But a great headshot is not just a great picture.
I believe in a targeted, strategic approach for headshots. Rather than just getting shots according to my own personal style and aesthetic, I think it's far more effective if I create headshots that convey your unique qualities and strengths, and are designed for your business goals.
To me, a great headshot needs to meet three criteria:
1. It has to be accurate. It absolutely must look like you, in the sense that anyone who knows you even casually will immediately recognize you in the headshot, in both your physical appearance and your essential energy.
2. It has to be evocative. We want people to want to look at your headshot. So it must create interest, curiosity, and intrigue through the aesthetics, the expression, the pose... every detail. The more specific the shot is, the more interesting it will be. Bland or generic headshots are a huge missed opportunity, especially when you consider the vast number of headshots seen by agents and casting people every day.
3. It has to be strategic. You are marketing yourself to an audience. You need to present yourself effectively to accurately communicate your type, your strengths, your castability.
From my point of view, you are a small business. You have one product that you're selling: you. Your buyers are casting directors, agents & managers (if you're seeking representation), and the directors, producers, and everyone else who has a say in whether or not you get the job. How you present your brand has a big impact on how successful your product is in this marketplace.
My approach addresses each of these qualities. I take the time to get to know you, ask the right questions, and really listen, so I can make the right creative choices.
We'll start your session by sitting down together and talking about your career goals and expectations for the session. We'll examine your casting potential and identify the key traits we want to emphasize in your marketing. And then we'll plan how to make every aspect of the shoot support those traits and goals, from wardrobe to lighting to location. I want to know what direction you want your career to take next. What’s your dream role? Why? Specific roles, types of projects, types of characters, strengths and challenges, where you've found the most success — all of this gives me a clearer picture of how to capture you.
I'm really big on preparation. You're investing some serious coin, and I really want my clients to succeed. It's a big part of my job fulfillment! So putting careful thought into planning your session makes me happy.
I am comfortable working with both studio lighting and natural light. My neighborhood has a wide range of natural light locations and my studio gets great window light, but my studio is also well equipped with lighting equipment. If you have a strong preference, please let me know -- otherwise, I will make lighting decisions based on what will work best for the qualities and goals we establish for each look. Lighting has a huge effect on the look and feel of a shot, and I do my best to leverage those qualities for the results we're looking for. Contrary to what you may have heard, one type of light is not "better" than the other -- it just depends on what is most effective for the shot. I consider this carefully when I tailor the shoot for each person.
Hair & Makeup
I do recommend the use of a makeup artist/stylist for women, but it's up to you. When shooting headshots, we're after a very true-to-life look -- we want your photos to make you look as you do in person. This is essential for your buyers -- the casting people, agents, directors and other creative team members, so they know what they're getting. The last thing you want to do is send out pictures of a product that you can't deliver. So I work carefully with these collaborators to keep to our specific goals for the shoot in mind, and never ever make you up in a way that misrepresents you. In general, we subscribe to the "less is more" philosophy. If you feel you're very skilled in applying your own makeup, then you could consider doing your own -- but keep in mind, the requirements for makeup for photography are different than usual. There is no movement in photography, no animation, and most importantly, no interaction. We're relying on a frozen moment in time, and only two dimensions to represent you, in all your magnificence. So little details that would likely never be noticed in real life become more apparent, and potentially distracting. A makeup artist can help straighten out all those little things so they don't distract in your photos, while still keeping your look true to your own styling.
The cost for a makeup artist for a standard headshot session for women is $175.
What you wear is an opportunity to influence the impact of the shot. Really put
some thought into how you want to market yourself. You want to wear clothes that
reinforce the specific qualities you want to convey.
Here are some guidelines. In general, you want contrast to your skin tone. If you're light
skinned, that means avoiding pastels. If you're dark skinned, that means
avoiding very dark colors. Bright colors work well on most people. Since everything
is in color these days, let's take advantage of it. Remember, we want your shot
to draw interest on multiple levels, and people are drawn to color.
Avoid busy patterns; they tend to be distracting.
Make sure it fits. Stay away from loose, bulky clothing. If it’s baggy and you
love it, you can bring it; we might be able to clip it in the back to improve
the fit. But in generally, form fitting is better.
But overall, just use your judgment. If your intuition says bring it, then bring it. If you love it, but your intuition says to leave it, then leave it. These are all creative decisions, so really listen to your creative voice, and try to leave your personal attachments and intellect out of it.
Last thing. If it looks ratty, leave it at home. Even if you love it. Your clothes should look fresh and new. A stretched out neckline will detract. Unless of course, your marketing goal includes looking ratty. Then by all means, wear it!
And plan on bringing more than you think you need. It's really important to pick the right clothing for each look, and we need options! So really try to bring a wide variety of clothing.
Bring your mp3 player if you like -- I’ve got speakers. Music is great to set the appropriate mood for the shot we're going for. I’ve also got 2,328 albums in iTunes at last count—-chances are, I’ll have something you like!
After Your Shoot
You'll have a private proofing gallery of your session available on the web
within 5 business days. I'll send you an email notification when it's ready, along with useful information about selecting and printing your headshots. You'll be able to download the shots, share them with friends, family, agent, etc, mark shots as favorites, you name it. The full, high-resolution files will always be on file with me, and digital transfer of the high-res files is available.
It is essential to have retouching done by an experienced headshot retoucher, who understands the appropriate restraint needed for honest, professional results. You can't do better than Joe Barna at Colorworks. He is fantastic. Reproductions' MasterPrints are the current gold standard in prints. If you want the quality of your shots to hold up in the context of the thousands of other headshots people are looking at, it's worth it to invest in great retouching and quality prints.
If you have any other questions, please please please don't hesitate to ask. I love questions! Thanks!