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Actor’s Headshots Done The Right Way

 

Today I would like to talk to you about headshots and in general photo sessions for performing arts talents. Aspiring actor’s headshots are in high demand. In London the prices vary from £50 to about £300 (I’m sure you could even get one free. Hey, these days everyone is a photographer!) So is it worth paying the premium?

Well, if you serious about your career the answer is Yes. Inexperienced photographer will seat you down, shout “Now look your best!!!” and fire thousand frames in 30mins praying that one of them will come alright.

Than it goes to photoshop (pirate version) where one click, “good for all” effect is applied. If you lucky you get it on disc if not you get it by email. Sounds about right? Drop me a comment if I’ve missed something.

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So how should it be done? I guess there is no one right answer but I can tell you how I do it.

My sessions last around 3 hours. You may be surprised but only part of it is actual photo shoot. We start with that famous “seat down and look your best” series, which will be no doubt the worst few shots from the entire session, but there is good reason for doing it.

Now we can discuss what went wrong. We analyze the photos, then go in front of the mirror and look how we could improve things just a touch. We try different angles and expressions. We work on your facial muscles memory so you can strike “the look” instantly in any situation, be it a red carpet or your aunties 60th birthday. It’s a skill that takes practice but can be mastered. Have your ever noticed that big Hollywood stars barely ever get caught “off guard”?

They not super humans, they simply know how to look good in front of the camera. Somebody has taught them.

So on the end of the day you not only end up with the best images you have ever had but also with knowledge and experience that you will be able to use and further develop throughout your long and successful career.

Here you will find my full headshots photography portfolio.

 

Below a few pictures from my last session with young and very talented actress Nicola.

Those images were taken before she knew how pretty she really was. (I hope she won’t kill me for it)

 

 

AND THOSE WERE TAKEN AFTER OUR COACHING SESSION

 

 

 

 


Cold and windy. Model’s portfolio shoot.

A few days ago I photographed rather cool lifestyle model Janu. For those of you from UK I don’t need to explain how nasty English weather at this time of the year could be… and so it was. 70-90 km/h wind has forced me to change my game plan drastically.

My only assistant on set was Maggie, our make up artist (she’s about size 0 😉 so making her hold onto even small size softbox would only make things worse cause not only would I have to worry about my equipment but also about health and safety of my lovely assistant. So instead we have settled for three Canon 580 EX II Speedlights triggered by Pocket Wizards Flex TT5 and Mini TT1, mounted on TriFlash bracket and my old trusty Manfrotto monopod.

That way Maggie had only one piece of equipment to worry about and it was rather light and wind resistant.

So we were ready to go! Since the freezing rain was coming off and on we had to move fast. We started off in the building right opposite our studio were we found this old and dirty loading bay.

As ugly as it was, it was full of texture and had moody feel to it (see first three shots). Next we headed for the street. I know the area pretty well so we took advantage of a few tried and tested locations. Janu was brave enough to take his thick jacket off and pose for a couple of shots only in T-shirt, showing off his awesome tattoos. We were cold, the batteries were dying so it was time to go back to the studio. A few cookies and hot cup of tea put us back on our feet and we were ready for set of head-shots, which came out great.

So here it is, another lesson learned! Even though it seemed like we fighting against all the odds (believe you me, I was so close to call the whole thing off) we did not give up and came back with shots far better then I could possibly wish for. My model has suffered (just a touch 😉 ) but Janu’s model’s portfolio went right through the roof!

Great outcome from miserable day!

 

Special thanks to my assistant Maggie, that was so bravely fighting the elements.

 

Spread the word, share on facebook, tweeter etc. and stay tuned for the future posts!

 

Jarek