All Photos Courtesy of Travis Curry
I’ve had a great career as a headshot photographer for the past 7 years which has introduced me to so many talented people in the entertainment industry. I’ve photographed clients who have appeared on television and in films, regional theatre, Broadway shows and tours and more! It’s so cool to be watching an episode of my favorite Netflix series and see an actor I photographed or hear about my former clients booking shows and touring the world! I love what I do!
Working with Actors & Entertainers is a really fun job and what I do as a headshot photographer is so important to the success of my client’s career. A headshot is a valuable marketing tool for people in the entertainment industry. You need to understand how to capture someone’s personality in order to create a strong headshot portfolio for your clients.
Get to Know Your Client
Photographing Actors & Entertainers means that you are working with so many different types of people; there is no cookie cutter version of an actor. I know that each session will be different and I tailor the photo shoot to suit the needs of my client. Every actor is different, so when I first meet my client I like to talk to them and get to know them. If I don’t meet them for a pre-shoot consultation, I usually talk to them over the phone to hear about what they’re looking for, how they want to be photographed and hear more about their careers and goals.
Capture a Wide Variety of Looks
A big part of my job when I work with Actors & Entertainers is capturing the true essence of them. A lot of actors will need a legit headshot for TV & Film. A legit headshot (also known as theatrical headshot) is an expression that’s more serious and natural while a commercial headshot is smiley & happy. Commercial Headshots are great for when someone goes to audition for a print campaign or a TV commercial or anything else that would represent a brand. I like to shoot a lot of variety during my session, while we usually are looking for just 2-5 strong shots, it’s important that I get a great selection of poses, angles and sets. This is great because my client has the options to purchase additional images to add to their portfolio; whether it’s for a specific casting, a project, social media or just to have.
When I’m shooting I need to be aware of cropping; a headshot is usually an 8×10 print, though the ratio would be 8×12, so I’ve got to be mindful of where my client may crop their headshot when printing. While I may make some questionable crops that go against photography “rules” I know that when cropped for my client’s headshot at 8×10; the shot will look awesome and everything will make sense.
Focus on Hair & Makeup
When working with Actors & Entertainers, I keep everything very simple and clean. Makeup, hair and grooming is always important during a photoshoot. I choose my HMUA’s based on their portfolio and I look for artists who do great work with a lot of natural looks and use minimal products. I’ve worked with MANY hair & makeup artists and the best artists are the ones who can do beautiful, clean makeup with a light use of their products!
I recently met with a casting associate who mentioned that it’s important that an actor can recreate their hair and makeup looks for their audition. If your client doesn’t do a Kardashian Kontour on the regular, then keep that out of their headshots! Sometimes I will have a client ask for something more glammed up or a red lip; I usually do that as a final “look” once we get the clean headshots. Glam shots have their purpose and are helpful for Personal Branding.
Don’t Forget about Styling
Styling is really important to a headshot! I send out a Headshot Guide to my clients before their session which helps them get ready for the shoot and select their outfits. I also ask them to send me photos of their outfit options before the shoot so I can help them pick out the best options. If your client brings something sloppy or ill-fitting and has no other options, it can really mess with the success of the shoot. I always tell my client to bring extra options, because sometimes your client’s favorite clubbing dress just doesn’t work for a photoshoot.
Working with Actors & Entertainers has been a really exciting part of my career and I always look forward to seeing the success of my clients over the years. One of the best feelings is when an Actor or Entertainer comes back to me for a headshot update session!