To most, this is a dreaded word. Maybe as performers we are just so critical of ourselves that we can’t even look at our picture without picking it apart.
I know I’m that way. I can’t just look at the whole and say, nice picture. I have to look at each detail for flawlessness, which of course can never be there.
The first headshot I ever had taken was when I was in college. It is a beautiful shot. Well-posed and I think it looks quite nice. However, it is in black and white and does look like a portrait. These days color is the trend, and pictures show a lot more of your personality. Highlighting the eyes is a technique often used to achieve this.
I still love this picture of me. I have it framed in my house and don’t plan on changing that. However, I need to keep up with the times, and my look is different now. So the search for new headshots begins.
I started when I first auditioned for the Rockettes in 2008. I found a local photographer who I thought would fit the bill, and he fit into my budget. This was in my mind a disaster. I looked like a linebacker, my shoulders overpowered the photograph. Also, I did choose to go black and white again. I have never used this picture, and hesitate to even put it here.
Shortly after that I got a recommendation for a photography studio, Portrait Innovations. This time I did go color, though I got one printed in black and white anyway. However, at that point in my life my hair was not looking the greatest. I have since don’t something about that and it looks much better, the style suits me better I think. Overlooking that though, they are just nice pictures, nothing really showing my personality. But I went to a portrait studio, what did I expect. Two good things were the price, I think I pay $20 for three 8×10 prints whenever I need them, no sitting fee. And selecting the photos I wanted was easy as well. Using the computer, they put three pictures up at a time and make you pick one, and so on until you have your best two or three. I have used the pictures from this session for a long time.
Just last week and had a photo shoot with a real headshot potographer. I went to Philadelphia and shot with Christopher Kadish. If you Google him you will find other blog posts that say he is great, and I agree. He was by far the best and most challenging to work with. And by challenging I mean that he made me work to get emotion into the shot, not just a blank smile. Ans speaking of smiles, this is the first time that I have pictures with me not smiling where I don’t look mean. I still like the one of me smiling the best. That just may be because I’ve never had good ones of me not smiling, so I have to get used to it. Only time will tell if I get used to them or keep preferring the smling ones.
The photos below are just a sample of the great shots I got. Please note that they are not cropped and not even retouched. They look so great, I don’t know if they need retouching.
Bottom line, I do think that these are the best headshots for professional use that I have now. I still don’t like looking at pictures of myself too much, but now I don’t feel like I have an inferior picture to hand to the director compared to the other auditioners. At this point, I think that’s the best I can do. Maybe later I’ll get used to looking at my headshots. This is still a fairly new game for me.