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Posts Tagged ‘spotlight photographer’

Who Is That Co-Starring In My Headshot?

Headshot photographers are popping up all over the place these days, virtually anyone with a digital camera and the kahoona’s to say so, can call themselves a headshot photographer. As far as I know there are no professional bodies or qualifications needed. A classic example of this is myself – I have no formal qualifications and am not a member of any professional bodies – but, I have been a busy working headshort photographer for almost 20 years.

I learned all of the many skills involved in creating and producing photography over several years and because I was using film I had to fully understand the principles of photography before I started calling myself an actors headshot photographer. It just wasn’t possible to charge clients for my services and HOPE that the film came out right. I had to completely understand how to use a camera, how to use exposure, composition and lighting before I called myself a professional headshot photographer.

Unfortunately that is not the case nowadays as the easy of use sophisticated digital cameras takes away the need to fully understand these integral components of being a professional headshot photographer. Therefore it’s too easy to make a mistake with composition and the rules of a good actor’s headshot.

You regularly see headshots used by actors where the lighting is poor, the background is too dominant or the posing or posture of the actor conveys negativity. I feel sorry for actors who use this kind of headshot photographer unknowingly. Most ofetn these ae students just starting out on their acting career who often don’t know any better. The problem is with this kind of poor headshot is that it will do more damage to an actors’ career than they are aware of.

Casting Directors and Agents know exactly what is and isn’t a good headshot, they take a view of  poor unprofessional to equate with unprofessional actor, or simply why bother looking at this headshot if I can’t really see the actors’ eyes?

Jack Murray Actors Headshot © Nick Gregan

Jack Murray Actors Headshot © Nick Gregan

My studio is in an area of London where there are quite a few photographers, not too long ago I saw a photographer shooting headshots in a location I like to use – fair play I don’t have any exclusive rights on locations or styles of headshot. The location is under an old railway bridge and gives a great backdrop for an edgey atmospheric headshot. However I saw the headshots they took a few days later and noticed that I couldn’t see the eyes of the actor, they were deeply in shadow and lifeless. I wasn’t surprised as the photographer didn’t use any kind of refectors or additional light which is needed in that kind of location – this clearly led me to beleive they didn’t really know what they were doing.

I felt sorry for the actor when I saw those headshots as she couldn’t use any of them, she should have contacted the photographer and asked for either a reshoot aor a refund. However if she didn’t know that these shots weren’t acceptable then she has really lost out as they certainly won’t help her career move forward.

So back to the title of this post, ‘Who is that co-starring in my headshot?’ it’s certainly not the photographer, and they should be. A great headshot is a collaboration between the actor and the photographer and both people should benefit from working together, the actor in securing more auditions and getting more attention, whilst the photographer should be using those headshots to build their portfolio and their reputation.

A great headshot needs two pwople to make it great!

– Who Is That Co-Starring In My Headshot?

Following on from yesterdays post I’ve had quite a few of you ask me what actually are ‘Uta Hagen’s 9 Questions’

As photographer who specialises in shooting headshots for actors I often take headshots of young and aspiring thespians, many of whom are still studying and constantly looking for way to increase their knowledge and acting technique. I don’t profess to have all the answers but I do have a healthy interest in ensuring I can help my clients and add value to every session that I shoot.

After all my clients are my lifeblood and as I spend most of my working week in the company of actors I always want to be able to pass on an extra little piece of advice, tips or tricks to help my clients get the very best out of themselves and out of our headshot session. I get a huge thrill out of coaching and coaxing fantastic 10×8’s for Spotlight and other casting services, of seeing my clients move on with success their career and hopefully reaching heady heights.

When I came across ‘Uta Hagen’s 9 Questions’ I instantly thought that this would be great information to pass on and share with others. I hope you enjoy this post and share it with others who may benefit from it.

1.  WHO AM I?
(All the details about your character including name, age, address, relatives, likes, dislikes, hobbies, career, description of physical traits, opinions, beliefs, religion, education, origins, enemies, loved ones, sociological influences, etc.)
(Century, season, year, day, minute, significance of time)
(Country, city, neighborhood, home, room, area of room)
(Animate and inanimate objects-complete details of environment)
(Past, present, future and all of the events)
(Relation to total events, other characters, and to things)
(Character’s need.  The immediate and main objective)
(The obstacles which prevent character from getting his/her need)
(The action: physical and verbal, also-action verbs)

Uta Hagen

– Uta Hagen’s 9 Questions For Actors

Online casting has changed dramatically over the last few years, as headshot photographers in London and as actors you must be aware of those changes and how best to take advantage of them.

I had a casting director from a very well know regional theatre in the studio last week and we spoke about the casting process and how it’s changed and how he chooses actors to invite for audition. In the screenshot below you’ll see man, many hactors headshots viewed as fairly small thumbnails. This is initially how a casting director views your headshot and decides whether or not to look at it bigger and whether or not to bother spending their valuable reading your CV. As you can see you headshot needs to stand out, it needs to have the wow factor to grab their attention.

Make sure you have a headshot that stands out by choosing the right headshot photographer and making sure you understand what your part in the process is and how you can work together with your actors headshot photographer to get a shot that gets you noticed.

acting headshots by Nick Gregan

acting headshots by Nick Gregan

– Good Headshots For Online Casting

Fantastic photographer, I would highly recommend getting your headshots done here.

– Joe Johnson – Actor

When is a headshot photographer not a headshot photographer? Well, it’s when they do something else most of the time, it’s when their passion is for another disciple or it’s when someone thinks they can make a quick buck out of shooting a few headshots.

There’s an increasing trend for actors ‘when not acting to try their hand’ at doing headshots. They use the catchy line of “I’m an actor so I know what a great acting headshot is” – yeah right!!  If they know all of this they’ll obviously have a great headshot themselves and if they do why aren’t they acting and auditioning full time then instead of trying to make ends meet by shooting a few bad headshots?

Many actors straight out of drama school or beginning their career may not know how to get a great headshot or how much a poor actors headshot can effect your career negatively. Think about it logically and you’ll see what I mean, without a strong headshot showing personality it’ll be incredibly difficult to get a casting director to notice you, an agent to see you and may well leave you feeling fed-up and disillusioned with your acting career. All because your headshot isn’t up to scratch.

Part 2 tomorrow – The Way To A Great Actors Headshot.

– Professional Headshots Mean Professional Work

Following on from yesterdays post entitled – Professional Headshots Mean Professional Work – I thought I’d explain a little more about what I mean about professional work. It’s paid work. Let’s face it we all love to follow our passion and most of us would do it for free just to express ourselves however, we all need to pay our bills so to be brutally honest we have to be paid for what we do. Thats what I mean about professionalk work, when we are being paid to do a job. Whether it’s a stage show, TV, a film or TIE. As long as we are being paid to work I call this professional work.

To be taken as a professional actor every part of your approach needs to in harmony with a professional attitude, from how you approach and deal with casting diectors, agents and fellow actors to the image you portray starting with your headshot which is nearly always the first point of contact. Use a substandard ‘snapshot’ from a friend or ‘below par’ headshot photographer then you are asking for trouble. How many time have we heard the phrase ‘you only get one chance to make a first impression?’ hundreds and hundreds for definite. It is imperative to present a professional image to everyone who may have an effect (positive or negative) on your career.

I have made lots of posts on this blog about what constitutes a great actors headshot and I urge you to take a few minutes and check them out, this way you’ll at least be on the right track and armed with some useful information.

What Is A Real Actors Headshot?
Same Old Same OId Headshot?
Hot Sunshine And An Actors Headshot
Connection Is The Key In A Headshot

– The Way To A Great Actors Headshot.

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