Featured Headshot Session: The Aspiring Actor

Gregg contacted me because he was looking to update his current headshot which was incredibly outdated (about 10 yrs old I believe he said!?) He is currently an English Professor who in his off time loves acting in the local Shakespeare plays. He was also thinking to take a stab at some other roles through a more regional play company. As an aspiring actor his end goal was to have a few different headshots that he could send out for casting calls.

He arrived to my studio with several clothing options in hand, and well prepared after watching my “What to Wear for your Headshot Session” video.

First we started with a white backdrop and black suit. We talked about Greggs ideal role/characters that he would love to play and I helped him get into them and play the part in front of the camera. In this case, he was going for a man of faith, and a detective. This man knows how to bring on the drama….I think he nailed it!

Next up he he switched to a blue suit which complimented his eye color. Normally when doing headshots, for actors specifically, i work to make sure that their expressions match the characters and roles they’re looking to land so that when the casting director is looking for that character, they easily can filter through all the cheesy smiling headshots and say BOOM, thats my guy right there.

After doing hundreds of headshot for professionals, I still find it amazing how just a simple change in vest/shirt color and facial expression can dramatically change the personality of the headshot. Its sometimes almost like they’re not even the same person! Though most of the roles the Gregg is aiming to perform are more along the dramatic lines, it was still important for him to have some more relaxed and approachable headshots as well that he used for his Linkedin and social media pages.

Getting someone to change their facial expression and “perform” in front of the camera is a HUGE part of my job as a photographer. In some instances it doesn’t come so easily, it takes coaching, coaxing, and busting out my own inner silliness. While some people are naturals in front of the camera, some are super shy and will freeze up with blank expressions.

Gregg is a natural on stage, but when it came to being in front of the camera it took him a few attempts to relax into these approachable smiles. (which you certainly cant tell by looking at here) I often have to catch these smiles by cracking a plethora of super lame jokes or even just making fun of myself in the moment…clearly they work.

Once I had him super relaxed we did a few more wardrobe changes and background changes to achieve a variety of results. Usually after the first handful of shots, people start to realize that having their headshot taken isn’t as scary as they had originally thought and their inner ham will come out. I think he ended on a great note here.

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