Headshot tips from someone on both sides of the lens
Updated: Apr 17, 2019
Getting head-shots done my whole career as an actor has made becoming a portrait headshot photographer more straightforward. But, as expected, it also has come with moments that I remark to myself "how did I get my headshot to turn out like it did, and how do I make that same result for my client?" After the obvious essentials of lighting and lens (135 is my favorite for portraits) it is about story!
The story when working with a client or if you are the actor working with the photographer, is the need for a connection between the duo. It is a small play you are putting on. Only one frame long. But it has to tell a story regardless. A great way, when I have directed short films or have worked in NYU classes, is they say to do the exact scene without any words. what the scene would look like to the audience if it was muted. it is simple but proves amazing how we communicate with our bodies and expressions when we have to. and it is powerful to realize what the body and face is doing without us realizing. just so we can communicate to the other.
Communicating non-verbally is all a photograph is! it is always so fun to work with Emmy-winners that have been photographed their whole life. Because when professionals come in to work, it is more like not work at all, but a journey of getting to know each other. This of course lets us get great shots that are full of depth. this is a photo that you cannot will yourself to convey but that happens when you are thinking outside of yourself. and that is so hard when there is a camera right in your face! but it is part of my career on both sides of the lens that makes it exciting. It is so validating to realize that the more vulnerable we are in front of others, the more we can communicate. And that very communication is the main ingredient of telling any story!