the journey to paid professional performing artist

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.

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