It seems like an awful trend has started with headshots in LA… The photography has become more about the photographer and not who it is meant for.. THE ACTOR! Many of my competitors are very good photographers, but in my opinion they have become lazy when it comes to the client getting what they need. They are better about marketing themselves, than bringing out what you are as an actor. Many photographers have found ONE SPOT with pretty light and they do the SAME SHOT OVER AND OVER! I have been amazed that they get away with this, but they do. When one looks at those shots it seems like this is an actor wearing a suit in front of a nice backdrop…then this is an actor dressing up like a young dad in front of the same backdrop as before…then this is an actor dressing up in their favorite blue sweater in front of – …YOU GETTING THE DRIFT? Not to mention they are charging $600-1200 for this (I will not name names, but there is only about a dozen of us with established names in this game, so I am sure you know). That is simply just too much to pay. I often have people say "I almost didn't shoot with you because you're cheaper than some of the others. Well I am still in the top 1/3 of price and I feel my price is fair. They are not better photographers because they get that much, they are just better at taking your money.
Through the celebrity work I have done over the years, I have learnedthat celebrities have fun with their shots because they don’t have to “play the game”. They can look off camera, take a pic in their favorite old truck, do a pic looking in a mirror, have something that comes straight out of a magazine, hugging their dog, you name it. Why can’t the non-celeb have the same? Where is this book of rules does it say you can’t have fun with your shot? So I believe in shooting people like they have already made it. Once I get a GREAT PICTURE where your friends/family say what a great shot of YOU (not an “actor” dressing up for a “headshot” where it looks like someone playing the part of themselves), then I like you to think about your casting. What are your roles that you are meant to realistically get? Who is working that you think you should have those rolls? Then think about your casting as far as the breakdowns go. Are you the victim, the hero, the good guy, the best friend, the woman who gets her man taken away, the women who TAKES the man away? Then shoot all of that! When you go through my galleries please notice that everyone has MULTIPLE great shots that represent their casting range, not ONE shot that has been retouched to high heavens and then put on a site.
I believe a headshot is a MARKETING TOOL and as an actor you have to market yourself in just more than one way – so why have just ONE shot? The acting world has become more and more competitive as of late and I believe you should force feed to the casting directors that roll you’re going for. If the job that you’re up for is edgy, then you don’t want to send out that “ happy” shot your mom likes. Also, thanks to the digital revolution and sites like Actor’s Access, IMDB, and LA Casting you now have the opportunity to shoot your specific castings without spending a fortune in printing.
Stop handing casting directors something that ends up being an advertisement for a photographer. A shot that look JUST like the person’s next to you! Make the shot about YOU!
- Natural Light vs. Studio Light.
I will have actors ask me if I do natural or studio light and often say things like "my agent hates natural light" or visa versa. But most of the time the agent doesn't know how something was shot anyway so its moot. It could be a studio shot with natural light or an outdoor shot with studio lighting. I average about 70% natural light on my shoots because i like what it does for the eyes but sometimes studio lighting will fit what the client needs more. Again, I tailor each shoot to what the actor needs. If you like a shot on my website i can tell you how it was shot. Just ask.