Tag Archives: acting head shots

Character Acting Headshots ~Los Angeles Headshots Photography~

Acting Headshots are to actors what business cards are to the rest of us.  They are incredibly important and if you don’t make an impression in a nanosecond the opportunity may be gone.  Casting directors, managers and agents may spend a split second deciding if you are right for the role or their agency.

I’ve been photographing actors headshots for over 10 years now and while black and white is no longer the standard some general ideas still are. I found this great page from agent Rick Miller titled Be Who You Are.  His advice is just so spot on.  I’ve sat with an agent friend as he sifts through headshots that came in the mail.  The images that were taken by friends or friends who are photographers 99 times out of 100 get tossed. Sorry to disappoint you, but it is true.  Why? Because the image doesn’t connect, likely they are starting out and lack any sort of resume and aren’t taking this business seriously.  If you aren’t why should someone put all that effort into you?  I know many actors in Los Angeles and San Francisco. These people work hard and on a daily basis to make things happen.

Take for instance Brian Chenoweth.  He has been doing this for ages but went out and got a degree and now runs a business but it allows him flexibility to go out for auditions, call backs and the job if he books it.  He loves what he does and does everything to make it happen.  You should see his credentials and resume and can at IMDB where he’s also posted my photos.  Brian is a great character actor and the demand for people like him is high. If you think because you are blonde and blue eyed you are destined to make it well, think again.  You have a lot of competition!

Here is another story of Eddie Alfano and he too has my images posted.  He is a great and gorgeous guy who works his butt off to make things happen.  So he knows what type of guy he will play and has created images to help sell that.  The first image on IMDB is one we took especially to get cop roles.  It worked.

So go about your career as an actor as a business because it is.  I got into photography as a kid because I liked it.  I still do!  But it is also my livelyhood and I do it because there isn’t anything else I’d rather do.

Good luck!!












Photography isn’t just about a camera!

Why do you really need more than just your images on a CD?  Let me explain!  You won’t save money and you wont’ get the best that you deserve.

Since the dawn of digital I get asked a lot “I just want the raw files on CD”.   Well, if only it was so simple.  I once thought of this situation when I saw an advertisement for doing self-surgery and I think it was removal of a kidney!  My thinking is to leave it to the professionals and this is why…too much can go wrong.  I’m a photographer specializing in people so things like wedding photography, event photography and corporate and head shot portraits.  I wouldn’t imagine going in to an industrial commercial situation and say I know what I’m doing.  I definitely do not!

I recently got an email from someone who wanted engagement photos taken and wanted the raw files.  He mentioned he was a photographer but I saw he actually had another full time career.  So the dilemma for me is, as an artist, the image I take doesn’t end at just the push of a button and do I want someone else to not let me finish my process.  It’s a whole lot more.  I often run into amateur photographers who ask why I don’t do this or have that or tell me their Nikon is better than my Canon etc.  The best thing about photography is that there are a million ways to do it and all of them your way if you choose it to be that way.  But there are things that can wrong.

The process of being a photographer isn’t just about owning a camera. It is a whole lot more and I won’t even begin to discuss the business aspect of it in this post.   Experience, vision, education, tools, passion and creativity are all a part of it.  It starts with “seeing” the image. You have to see something, maybe manipulate it to make it better, make some technical choices and then perhaps change your mind again because it wasn’t right.  Oddly enough the biggest part of taking an image for me is getting my subject to connect to me and forgetting the camera.  Yes, you read that right.  I want us BOTH to forget the camera.  When the subject is in front of me whether for a wedding portrait during their wedding or acting head shots or a family portrait the camera is just a tool and believe it or not I mostly shoot in P.  Yes, you read that right too.  Once I have my basic settings and choices in equipment I use P or A and nothing else (this is in Canon I’m not sure about Nikon settings).  If I fiddle with the camera and try to think about technical things then my client can get restless, lose mood or feel uncomfortable.  If this happens the shot is lost and I have nothing anyway.  This is why you see emotion, expression and feeling in my images and not a perfectly posed, placed portrait.  Cameras today are built with a zillion different algorithms so why not trust them?

Once that part is done there is the post production which with digital is more complicated than film.  Developing choices in film can be made and then labs will still look at all your negatives and work with the color or adjust chemicals for a different grain or you can push or pull your negatives.  All of these processes lead to the final “image” that was in my mind’s eye when I pushed that button.  If you get the chance Google Ansel Adams and look at the extensive notes he did when printing his images.  They were never straight out of the camera and there was never just one print.  When I develop prints there are other choices that need to be made and all of this my artistic expression.  In regards to post production on digital images the process is all on your computer but those choices of intensity, brightness, color, filters are all the same thing leading again to my choice as my final image.  Here is a sample of images that about post production choices that made the images stand out and feel “finished”  Intimate Weddings, Documentary Weddings, Head Shots

So when you are choosing a photographer for your wedding or family portraits or even just head shots remember it isn’t just about owning a camera and while your friend is “into” photography it’s always best to hire a professional and trust them and let them do what they do best.  It is NOT about the camera and definitely not a good idea when it is your wedding and no chance for a do-over.  What about head shots?  You only get the one chance for that first impression.  Do you want to risk that to an image that isn’t finished?  Let’s be honest, will you ever make that album or retouch those photos yourself within the next couple of years even?  Most likely not!

While digital photography has brought cameras to the masses and some amazing pictures taken there is a big difference with a professional photographer.  Find the right one for you and you won’t be sorry.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me!

Ellie and Legs

Acting Head Shots and doing them right! ~Los Angeles Headshot Photographer~

Head shots are for actors like  a business card to anyone else.  They are hugely important and just crucial to your success.  They really must be done right and done right the first time.  A manager, casting director, director or anyone in the business won’t spend more than 1.5 seconds looking at your head shot if they don’t captivate them or you have a look that makes them stop and read your resume.  It is sad but true and that’s how the business works.

I photographed Jasmine and had a great time with her.  This is what she has to say about head shots…

I needed to take a head shot, so I did some research beforehand so I’d know what to expect. I looked up head shots of actresses in my age group and noticed that their photos were very simple: minimal makeup, solid-colored tee shirts, and natural looking hair. I decided to do the same, simple makeup and a tee shirt in a color that complimented my skin tone. Even with all the research I did, I soon realized that taking my own photos wasn’t going to be good enough – none of my photos looked anything like me, or good for that matter. I decided I needed a professional photographer and luckily I found Misti. Misti told me to keep my look for the shoot simple and fresh. Having a professional take my picture made all the difference in the world, I am so confident in these pictures and I know she got the best possible shots of me, infinitely better than the ones I took myself!

Thank you so much Misti I absolutely love them!  I will definitely let you know if I want more pictures and again thank you so much!

Jasmine did her research and knew what needed to be done.  Head shots are not in black and white anymore, they are rarely printed beyond a few to send to agents and manager.  Much of this is just done online now and when you see someone in person.  Your image has to connect and connect quickly.   So remember that old saying “you only get to make one first impression” and get those professional shots done soon!  Show personality and range of ages and looks and don’t forget to connect!

Head Shots for Actors

Acting Head Shots that connect.

Good luck!

Great job Eddie Alfano! ~Los Angeles Headshot Photographer~

A few months ago I had the pleasure and fun to do Eddie Alfano’s head shots.  We were going for a particular look–he wanted CSI or that hard New York cop look.  So we did that and a bit more.  He looks menacing in some of these shots but don’t let that fool you, he’s really a funny and nice guy.  So how fabulous is that he has now booked CSI New York and a robber on Cougar Town!  I can’t wait to see them both and glad our work took him in the right direction.   Elton Bolden of Tilmar Talent knew what needed to be done and it was successful.

If you are getting into acting and starting your head shots it’s really important to have options and know what you want and what you are good at.

  • Don’t let your photos be over touched up.
  • A guy has to look like a guy and yes, we all have pores in our skin.
  • Keep the focus on you.  Artistic photos are great but remember an agent or casting director will probably spend less than 3 seconds looking at your shots.  Make sure your eyes connect!
  • Have options!  I can’t say this enough.  Age range, soft looks and hard looks, the more the better!

Congrats again Eddie, the DVR is ready!

Great Headshots Los Angeles Style ~Los Angeles HeadshotPhotographer~

Last week I was in LA and had the best time.  I worked with some great talent that definitely gave me some great headshots.  I also got some great LA gossip which I always love to hear!  Alas sadly, I can only share a few when there were just SO many!  Thanks all! I had a great time working with you and I hope these shots get those jobs that you so deserve!   These actors have worked hard and if you are just starting out it’s imperative you have great shots that are current and represent you to the best.