How should I prepare?
Choose your clothing (more on that below), do your make-up and hair before you arrive, make sure you get plenty of sleep and are well-hydrated.
Can I bring someone along with me?
If you want to. Some people like to bring a stylist (or a friend to act as a stylist) and this is totally welcome. I'm happy to work together with them. I would request that you limit it to one person, though.
Do you provide make-up or hair services?
Not at this time. Please arrive with make-up and hair already done. However, I will keep an eye out for make-up and hair issues as I shoot.
How many changes of clothing do you allow?
I actually don't limit the number of looks you can have, but I'd recommend 3-4. If you're unsure about some, bring them just in case.
Can I change my hair or make up for a different look?
Yes, but remember you're limited on time. Especially for the one-hour session, there's really not time to spend doing big changes. If it's something you can do quickly, by all means, go for it.
What clothing should I bring?
For headshots, simple is best. Casting agents want to see you, not your clothes. Solid colors, blacks and whites, are good. Colors that make your eyes "pop" are great. Avoid patterns and really bright colors as they draw our attention away from your face.
Form fitting clothes such as tank tops for girls, and t-shirts for both guys and girls work well, as they allow casting directors to see not only your face, but also your body type. But definitely wear something that you feel comfortable in and that YOU KNOW makes you look good. Confidence is a HUGE part of these photos and your clothing choices should help you feel it. If you need help, model some clothes for your friends. Let them tell you what makes YOU look best.
Remember you can bring extra tops to try out so, if you're unsure, bring it along. We can always take a few shots of something and decide it doesn't really work, and move on to something else. Try to keep the clothes as wrinkle-free as possible.
In general avoid extra jewelry and accessories. Ladies should come to the shoot already wearing make-up. You can touch it up once you get here so be sure to bring it along. Same with your favorite hair products, especially if you may be subject to unruly hair. Guys, bring chapstick for your lips, and any hair products you use.
This all seems to be geared for actors. I'm not an actor, but I need a portrait photo. Do you do that?
Of course. My clients are mostly from the NYC theatre community, but I do corporate headshots and bio photos for creatives, too. There are subtle variances in the approach, but for you, the main difference is wearing clothing appropriate for your field.
What should I expect at the shoot?
Expect a relaxed time. We'll talk a little bit about what kind of roles you're planning to be auditioning for, and go over any other wishes you might have for your photos. You can touch up your make-up and hair. We'll figure out which is your "better" side and adjust the lighting, background and clothes. Once we start, I'll give you some simple posing instructions. Feel free to try other poses, too. The most important thing is that you feel relaxed in front of the camera. We'll take lots of photos so there's ABSOLUTELY NO PRESSURE to get it right on any given pose. I'll be giving you feedback the whole time to help you look your best. My goal is not just to get a great end product, but for you to enjoy the experience of being in front of the lens.
Once we feel like we've got enough of a certain look (background/clothing), we'll switch it up.
Indoor vs. Outdoor shoots. What's the difference?
Indoor works out really well because I use continuous lighting. This means that you don't have flashes going off in your eyes, making you blink and feel tense. Some people are very used to flashes and handle them really well, but for the rest of us, the tension of waiting for that burst of light that we're sure is going to make us blink, will strain that natural smile into something not so natural. Indoor shoots are a necessity during the winter, too, when it's too cold to wear a t-shirt outside.
Outdoor shoots can be great as well. There are all kinds of interesting backgrounds around the city that can add something unique to your photo. I use a shallow depth of field, meaning the background is blurred, so that it isn't distracting, but rather directs the focus to you. Because the sun is a rather bright light, I do use a flash for outdoor headshots. Outdoor shoots are only available on the 2 hour session due to travel time and set up.
Where are you located?
My apartment/studio is conveniently located in in Long Island City, Queens, just one subway stop from Grand Central. I'll give you an exact address when you book a session. Closest subways stops:
- 7 Vernon-Jackson
- E/M Court Square
- G 21st St. Van Alst
I have something that I don't really like about my appearance. Can you make it go away?
It's important to be up front an honest about these things. If you have insecurities about your face or body, we can discuss how to deal with those to make sure you look your best. In some cases it has to do with posing. In other cases, Photoshop can do magic. But remember that this photo is still going to be a likeness of you. I've heard of a casting director who, during auditions, notes whether or not the actor actually looks like their headshot. So still expect to look like yourself.
How do I choose my photos?
After the shoot we'll discuss how many photos you'd like to choose from. In an hour I'll usually take 150-200 photos, and it can be overwhelming to look through all of them. With my computer program I have an easy way to compare and rate the photos, so I can quickly narrow them down to the top 50 or so. Usually, the top 10-15 stand out above the rest. So I can send you digital drafts copies of the top 50 if you really like to see a lot of photos, or I can just send you the top 10-15 picks. And say there were actually 16 really great ones, I wouldn't just leave a great one out, just to keep the number to 15. Usually it's very clear which ones are the top choices.
When you get your "top picks," the best way to narrow them down is to flip through them in a slideshow program, or you can print them out on paper and flip through them like flashcards. Look at the expression, not the framing, meaning—don't worry if the photo isn't zoomed in as much as the others. I'll crop the photo to zoom in closer during the retouching process.
Eliminate the ones that are clearly not the best. There may be something you like about a shot, but if it's not a contender for best shot, take it out of the running.
When you can't eliminate any longer, flip rather quickly through the photos and notice which grabs your attention—the one that you spend more time looking at. It may be harder for your mind to figure out and really take it in. But guess what? That's what the casting agent is going to do. You want them to see something deeper—something intriguing in you that sets you apart from the competition. So even if you don't think you look the very best, that's the photo that will probably do the most work for you in auditions.
Depending on your headshot session package, you get touch-ups on multiple photos, so you can always try different photos. And if you really can't narrow it down, it's only a $30 fee for retouching on an additional image.
Once you've figured out which images you'd like retouched, just send me a text or email with the image filenames and I'll get them worked up and emailed to you.
What's your turn-around time?
It depends, usually it's 1-2 days for narrowing down the photos, and another day or two for the retouching. If time is an issue, let me know.
What happens with all the rest of the images?
As part of the headshot session packages for actors, I'll include the high-resolution image files of your "top picks." They're not retouched, but that way you can still have a great photo that may not be the best headshot for auditioning. Most other headshot photographers don't include these.
Do I own the rights to my photos?
Copyright law in the United States maintains that the photographer retains the copyright to any images he or she takes. Traditionally, professional studios and photographers make individual prints and sell those to you. However, rather than selling you prints, I give you a license to reproduce the images on your own. So I still retain the copyright, but you have a license to use the photos freely print as many copies as you like.
Will the photographs you take of me be used anywhere else?
Yes. I retain the right to use the images in my online portfolios, and for self-promotional materials for my photography business. Being able to showcase my work is essential for me to attract more clients and provide great service at a reasonable price. This is standard practice and is in accordance with copyright law. However, if privacy is a big issue for you, please let me know and we can work something out.
What do you do for touch-ups?
Every photo has different needs. I will often adjust the coloring of the image to make it pop, enhance your eyes (since they're the focal point of the whole image), smooth your skin. Of course, through all of this, I will keep you looking natural and like yourself. I also crop the photo to 8x10 (the standard headshot size). This brings the viewer in closer to you.
What if I hate my photos?
Let me know and we'll work something out. I want you to be happy. (Incidentally, this has never happened with any of my clients. But if it ever does, I'll be sure to make it right.)