Creating and Fashioning Headshots-Part-1

EPISODE 1: The Mood of a Headshot

Let’s get on the same page about how these headshots will set you apart.  It’s partly a mindset, and partly a style of work on our set.

INTROWe focus on an artistic, constructed form of “messy”.  That is Michael’s brand as a headshot photographer.  It’s something perhaps touched by “the wind on the New York streets”.  It’s brings charm to your inner rebel.  We call it urban glam.  It gives you life, it’s a little raw, and it brings you down from that “plastic smile” world you know all too well in portrait photography, particularly headshots for actors and corporate. We really don’t think soft smiles over the course of 500 photos are going to get you the job, that would be playing it safe.  

You have to be strong with your choices.  You have to look right down the barrel of that lens, and say in your mind, “this is who I am.”  You have to be unapologetic about it.  While we have conversations on set, we create many forms of play that bring this out.  For the most part, it boils down to you knowing that at the crux and center of everything, you are not going to hide or apologize for who you are behind some projection you create that you think we’ll like.  

    As a team, we want people to believe you are a living, working, breathing artist (or business genius) that moves and stands like one: You have intuitive behaviors that wall street types will never have (or vice versa).  You have a natural inspired calm about you that flows with the elements.  We want people to think it’s unreal just to look at you.  The lighting styles of the pictures are close to what Michael’s going for.  Something natural, but styled (much like your hair and makeup). 

1.) Picture 1.  That’s Brianna (blonde).      That makeup takes 1-2 hrs to put on…but that’s not the part about her being focused on.  It’s the freedom in the picture: the cinematic subtlety, and calm, leading presence that Michael’s going to work on with you during your shoot, throughout every moment and emotion to keep you connected to the camera.

2.) Picture 2: Amanda, the young brunette with wild, uncombed hair.  This is to give you an idea of a slight direction you can go in.  Don’t be afraid to be a little messy.  Don’t be afraid to try some chancy stuff yourself and mix that in with the traditional.  Just know that it should be intentional.  It should be artistically or thoughtfully done.  This is how we look at imperfection: It’s a choice, and shows strength in your uniqueness and charm.

3.) Picture 3: River, the gentleman.  See what he’s wearing?  That’s three layers of clothing, but in the closeup, it’s not too noticeable.  It’s part of a larger construct: the picture that focuses on your face.  T-shirts and button downs are all a given. What we’re trying to give you here is a little push in terms of something different than what the other guys are wearing to the audition opposite you.  Don’t be afraid to bring something from a vintage store or designer that inspires you.  Yes, we can combine things and help you here. 

POINT: Michael loves taking chances, but please remember, this has to be something you would love wearing into interviews and auditions for the next two years or so.  It can’t just be a statement picture.  It has to be based in realistic audition scenarios or professional meetings you’ll be making.  It also has to be based on BOTH what you can bring to a role or a room, and what roles and professional positions are good for you.