Busting a Myth About Headshot Photography


sammi-jack-650x645As an actress I’ve been in front of the camera for too many years to count (I’m a woman and we don’t discuss our age… or even give out hints ūüôā ).

As a photographer I’ve been behind the camera for almost as long.

In those years I’ve shot fashion, runway, press, parties, events and headshots. I might also say landscapes, but my passion lies more in¬†bringing out human emotion; capturing the essence that is the artist.

I’ve heard all kinds of suggestions from managers and agents, regarding their client’s headshot photography. Many of those comments are constructive and illuminating, but there’s one myth that’s been perpetuated over the years that just MUST be put to rest.

Many potential clients have called me to inquire about getting their headshots done and they believe¬†or were told by their agents–I suppose with a dismissing wave–that the photographer just has to know technically what they are doing. Everything else is up to the performer.

And although there is some truth to that, the headshot photographer should not only be technically capable, she–in my perspective–should be more of an artistic collaborator than just a ‘shutter clicker.’

In fact, in every headshot I shoot, I envision how I can capture not only who the artist is, but how he or she wants to be portrayed, so that the image that evolves, is alive with personality, emotion, character and backstory.

It’s an image that sparks¬†the viewer, (agent, casting director or producer) to be¬†infused¬†with intrigue, so they become compelled to ask the question: ‘what’s going on behind those eyes?!’

The result?

Your headshots get noticed, they get responses and they get you working.

I mean, isn’t that the goal?

Maite3rewebI can’t count how many times I’ve shot an actor or actress and within a couple of months that actor is calling or emailing to say how much more they are booking.

Recently I shot a beautiful young actress in my studio. Before two months passed, she booked three national commercials!

That is photography that gets results!

So What Makes the Difference?

A shutter-clicker may know technically what they are doing. They may have a great camera, but having a great camera does not mean the photographer has a vision.

It only takes eight small muscles to squeeze your finger down on the shutter button and capture whatever is before the camera.

A true photographer is an artist. They see the colors and the style.¬†They pay close attention to the eyes and they wait for the precise moment to capture the subject’s true self. During the shoot, you may notice the photographer looking over the head of and beyond the subject.

They ask these questions:

  • Does the background enhance this artist’s clothing, her eyes, her coloring?
  • Does the artist need some music, some laughter some coaxing and nurturing to feel at home enough to be their true self?
  • Does the artist’s makeup fit their personality, their look or the personal brand they desire to convey?
  • Would the artist be better represented in outdoor lighting or studio lighting?
  • How can I, as the photographer, blend color, light and texture to create an image that grabs not only a viewer’s attention, but also sparks emotion?

Debunk the Myth

So, my lovely fellow actors, don’t sell yourself short. Debunk the myth and find a photographer who puts as much passion into the evolution of your image–blending style, color and helping you bring out your best self during a shoot–as you do, and see the difference!

Maybe you’ll be calling me or emailing me too, to share your successes!