Get 2 looks in 1
One of the biggest issues since online casting truly took over is the demand agents put on their actors to get several looks. Actor Headshots used to be simple….remember? One serious. One smiling. Black & White. Super Basic. NOW, because you don’t need to get 8×10’s printed up of everything, your agent wants you to get a ton of looks….”Professional Commercial” “Professional Theatrical” “Girl Next Door” “Bad Ass” “Sexy” “Cute Sitcom”, “Midwestern / Country Girl”, “Quirky” ……the list goes on! If that wasn’t enough on your plate, now pretty much every photographer you talk to lets you know that these are all charged as separate looks….Yikes. And you can’t blame them for needing to charge extra for what is, in essence” 2 full photoshoots. From our perspective, a headshot session is 3 to 4 looks max. That’s what it’s been for years. So, when you have 8 looks, that’s double our usual work day. ….not to mention the hours and hours afterward to process your digital negatives….phew! It’s a fun job, but it’s still a job. ….So, what are you supposed to do? Spend a billion dollars every year on headshots?! No. There are lots of great ways to get the most out of your shoot & do so without depleting your energy by the 5th look & without depleting all the money from your bank account.
Above is an example of how we got Nikki’s Professional Theatrical AND Pro Commercial in one look. And we did it without compromising the quality & end result of the picture.
1. Lighting is NOT the same for commercial & theatrical. Make sure your photographer understands this & knows how to tweak light as you go to give you different vibes throughout a single look. Above, you’ll see we switched from purely natural light to a strobe when we went from theatrical to commercial. The strobes were set up….just not turned on….for the theatrical. This gives us a MOODY dramatic feel. Once the strobes were turned on, BAM! There’s an immediate commercial, high energy feel to the image. And not only was the light on Nikki’s face a strobe – we also had a mini strobe set up to flash on the background behind her to give a crisp white, where there had been a soft caramel faded background.
2. Wardrobe can speak volumes, even when very simple.
Theatrical Nikki is already a gorgeous & pretty sexy individual. SO, we didn’t go over the top on her Theatrical Professional when it came to wardrdobe. Of course, she looks like she stepped right off the set of Boston Legal where, no doubt, they’d have her in a totally hot cami with jacket over the top. That’s great for the show – but there’s something a little “icky” about dressing TOO sexy for your headshots. It feels like “trying too hard.” The blue shirt is serious – but we did allow for an extra button to come undone to show off her neck & a little collarbone.
Commercial Because Nikki chose a color that would work with both theatrical AND commercial – such as a medium blue, sage green, plum, etc. – we were able to just remove the jacket, exposing MORE of the vibrant color & giving the pick a more relaxed, casual, friendly feel – which is key to a commercial “Professional” headshot.
3. Hair is super important, of course. By keeping the hair in the theatrical around Nikki’s face, we get a character that’s a little more “shadowy” – someone who has a secret. Then, when we switched to commercial, we let the hair come off the face a bit – opening her up as someone who’s more fun & friendly. It’s such a small change – but you can see what a difference it makes.