“Great! We’ve got your head shot. Thanks for coming. NEXT!!!”
When actors come to a casting session for an audition, the headline above is many times what they hear as they leave.
The “head shot” or medium CU photo of a persons face, used to be the exclusive domain of actors or executives.
Fine, real estate agents and politicians, too. It’s the visual calling card.
And,thank you social media and internet dating, a whole new client base opened up.
Yes, client base.
You don’t get a second chance to make a 1st impression. And your profile shot or head shot is the door opener. or closer.
So photographers, if you smell what I’m cooking here, is a new business for you that doesn’t include putting marbles into bowls of soup to make them look fuller.
There may be some post production work, but you can handle that. Or find a good retoucher.
The head shot can be your bread and butter.
Now, in places where there are a lot of actors like NYC, LA or Chicago, you will always have the more “pro” client who wants to pose and sometimes knows what pose will show them off the best. Sometimes.
Websites like The Rising Hollywood, feature the new up and coming actors, and these people need headshots. (hmmm, maybe a good place to advertise for you??)
Not all people that want a head shot are actors, or can pose comfortably in front of your camera.
How comfortable are you directing them as well?
We’ve been doing some research to help, and came across the self proclaimed guru of the head shot, former model, Peter Hurley.
And he is damn good.
Where else are you going to learn about this?
We watched the 4 hours and came away with these main points:
Mr. Hurley is a very confident person.VERY confident. At first we were a bit put off by his strong presentation, but then we came to appreciate it.
It’s a no BS approach, to a business that he is at the top of his game in.
You’ll get the tech stuff, like gear info, lighting info, rates, marketing info and the rest. Solid, real world info.
As he explains, that is all needed, but you have to personalize it all to you, your budget and working style.
The absolute gold here is watching him work with clients and direct them.
He speaks to camera in between shots to let you know why he is directing clients a certain way.
Who knows what the talent was thinking while this was being shot, but not important.
You get to see a working pro at work.
His history is discussed, and the beginnings of his business, which allows you to empathize and understand what is the important parts of the head shot photographers repertoire.
Perhaps it’s 10% photographer, 90% therapist or director.
Teaching you the salient points of connection, and why it’s critical to the resultant work is the best lesson you could ever learn.
Of course there are always some” tricks of the trade” which help you get great shots, most of the time. He’s not shy with those, and you’ll find good value in them.
He cares about his clients as he knows it reflects back on him. If they book jobs, or even just get in on auditions because of his work, that’s his goal.
As a photog assistant, the key is to watch your mentor work and see a style that is working. Working with your subject is what makes the image yours.
Peter Hurley can be your virtual mentor.
Look, Richard Avedon shot on white seamless. So could you. You can copy the lighting. The cameras may give you a similar file.
But your shot won’t be an Avedon. You connect with your subject differently.
We’ve watched all of the lighting DVD’s, and portraits tutorials out there, and felt the tech part was fine.
The difference here, in this DVD, is what will make you a better photographer.:You learn about working with your subjects.