I take your picture, you get jobs.

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Not Exactly Headshots…

My most recent photo shoot was an interesting one. It actually wasn’t a headshot session, it was a contemporary portrait session in which we took four “ordinary” women (I say “ordinary” because the truth is, we are all ordinary and extraordinary at once), gave them the same hair and makeup treatment as your average actress gets during a photo shoot and we had our own editorial style shoot.

The idea behind this shoot was to have images that you might see in a magazine, such as Vanity Fair or something like that. We wanted a transformation, one that came about from hair, makeup and lighting. These are all natural light images, every single one of them, which is how I prefer to shoot my headshots.

I worked with my usual headshot team to create these. And it was a blast! Especially since the ladies partook in a little bubbly to make it that much better. Needless to say, they were all very pleased — and surprised — at the results of their session. I’m going to show you a little gallery of images from the shoot and the before and afters.

And yes, absolutely, some of them can be used as headshots. They already are!

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A Girl’s Best Friend

This isn’t a headshot of an actor but it is a portrait of an actor… with her dog. This is Melanie Paxson, the quirky girl-next-door with a kinda funny voice. Talk about a dead ringer for Snow White. And this is her dog Owen. Melanie is beautiful with flawless, porcelain skin. Owen is furry with the most expressive eyes ever. Ever! He really looks like a little boy. I just love all the images I took of this pair… but these are two of my favorites.

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Want to Market Yourself, Actors?

photography and headshot business cardsIt’s important to get yourself out there, my actor friends, to be in front of the right people so you can get auditions and, subsequently, the parts (and recognition) you deserve. Well, you definitely need to get good headshots, that goes without saying. But you can put your headshots on business cards and postcards and make them available to the people who need to see you.

So one thing I do is use Moo cards, which are really, really cute and really, really inexpensive. I just bought some mailing labels and stickers for my photography and video business and I love them. I’ve been using them for years because one of the things that’s really fun is the MiniCard (which is about the size of a stick of gum) where you can put your headshot and all kinds of other information. They have regular size business cards as well and I also have those. Very good quality and a fast turnaround. What’s cool, too, is that you can put one headshot on it or many. Or you can have a different headshot on every card. They’re not picky.

Moo has put together a guide for actors to marketing yourself with their products, of course. Now you don’t have to buy Moo but it might be worth your while just to read the ideas and see if any of them can work for you.

If you want to order anything, please use this link. I may actually get $7.50 for it! But that’s not important to me as I really believe in Moo products.

 

 

 

 

A History of Headshots

One of the actors I like and admire most, Aaron Lustig, has posted “The Evolution of the Headshot… Mine, That is” on his blog and it’s very amusing. As a working actor for many years, he has a collection of headshots dating back to 1974. Sometimes he has hair on his face, sometimes he has hair on his head but you can see the progression of changes over the years. It’s worth your time to read it. As soon as you see him, you’ll recognize him from the films and television shows he’s been cast in.

But that brings up another point… headshot styles change. As you’ll see from Aaron’s blog, most of his are in black and white. If you’re old enough to remember, headshots were once done strictly in B&W and were shot in film. So the photographer would shoot, I don’t know, maybe three 36-exposure rolls of film (if you were lucky) which meant  you had 108 choices — and who knows how many were actually usable since you couldn’t see anything until they were developed.

Now, with digital, everything is in color and you know immediately during your session what’s working and what isn’t. You can fine tune your expressions and, for that matter, your clothing choices or your hair and makeup. You can become the best you can be in your headshot. It’s brilliant, really, that digital. What I do is bring along my little 13-inch MacBook Pro so that we can look at the images together. It’s hard to fully see yourself on the back of the camera but once it comes up on screen on the laptop, you get a really good idea of how your session is going. So that way we know when we’ve nailed a look. You’ll have a lot to choose from but you know there is at least one look that just sings out loud.

And speaking of trends in headshots, Aaron’s blog gives you quite a taste of how things have changed. You’ll see that the current style is much more relaxed and casual. I also love horizontal headshots and his blog includes examples of those.

Although I urge you to go take a look at Aaron’s evolution, I’ll give you a little taste of his headshots.

By the way, Aaron teaches at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in Los Angeles. I’ve taken headshots of many of his students and they love him!

What Should I Wear for My Headshot?

Bobby Sicilia, Los Angeles Headshot Photography

This is how it’s done! Bobby Sicilia looks awesome.

Other than the shoot itself, nothing can instill more anxiety in someone than choosing what to wear for their headshots. Relax… it’s okay, and it’s easy.

Your headshot is about your face. It’s your eyes, your expression, and really, it’s kind of about your essence. And because it’s about your face, and especially your eyes, you don’t want anything competing with your lovely visage. You want a casting director or a potential agent to see you, not your clothes.

So what works best? Forget stripes, dots, houndstooth or paisley. For my money, subdued, solid colors rule. I like to go by this… if you have green or blue eyes, go with green or blue. It will accentuate your eyes and that’s a good thing. If you have brown or hazel eyes, you can’t go wrong with earth tones. And don’t worry… green- and blue-eyed people also look great in natural colors. If you have blond hair, go with darker hues. If you have dark hair, go with lighter shades. That provides a nice contrast to your face.

What solid colors don’t work? Mostly white, black, red or pastels. Those colors make you see the clothes and not you. We want you.

Julia Rhoda, Los Angeles Headshot Photography

I love what Julia Rhoda is wearing and I love her expression!

Your clothes should maybe give a hint of the type of character you can play without defining that as you. You still want to be you, for sure, but you want to show your range. Are you a tough guy? Let’s see a bit of leather. Are you a soccer mom? Show a sweater set or a bit of a cable knit cardigan. Harried businessman? Button-down shirt, rolled-up sleeves, a loosened tie. CSI investigator? A blazer. Of course, in one session, you can combine looks to get your commercial and theatrical headshots. Remember, commercial is a little lighter, more smiling in tone and theatrical is a more dramatic, serious expression. But that’s not set in stone, you really can go either way on that and be totally successful.

And iron your clothes. Pulling a wrinkled shirt out of a bag doesn’t make you look professional. It just doesn’t and Photoshop will not be a magician to make rumpled clothes look crisp. Bring your ironed clothes on hangers.

No logos! I think I need to say this again. No logos, no logos, no logos! You want people to read your face, not your shirt.

Keep ornamentation to a minimum. Can you go without jewelry? Try to, unless that is a really important part of your type.

Breelayne Ring, Los Angeles Headshots Photography

Breelayne Ring is perfection!

Make sure you like what you’ve brought to the shoot. Now’s not the time to bring something you’ve never worn that’s been hanging out in your closet that you bought on sale but don’t love. Bring clothes that make you feel happy… powerful… as actors who are on their way to scoring an audition. Believe!

Most importantly, wear the clothes… don’t let them wear you.

See? It really is easy. Just bring a lot of different outfits with those tips in mind and we’ll pick from there. Don’t worry about your clothes.

Got questions? Email me at diana @ dianalundinheadshots.com, even if you only need a little piece of advice.

Time for New Headshots

Last night, I was just completely filled with gratitude that I get to do what I want to do… headshots and, now, video production through my latest venture… or more like adventure… Curious Cat Productions. I haven’t blogged for a while, had so many interesting things happen recently. But I wanted to show a new collection of headshots we’ve taken in the last few weeks. I think I will just put up a little slideshow of my recent headshot clients…

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The Morse Codes

OK, this next series of images is not from a headshot session, it’s from a recording session. And I loved taking these pictures! I’ve never witnessed a song being recorded and my great friend Chris Potter, who is the mastermind behind The Morse Codes (and that is no offense to the lovely and talented Rebecca Young who provides the awesome vocals!), invited me to the Stagg Studios for the laying down of the tracks of “All the Right Reasons.”

“All the Right Reasons” has an illustrious history. A version of it, with only Rebecca singing (this latter recording would be a duet), can be heard in the French film “L’ArnaCoeur” or “Heartbreaker.” It’s a song that’s always gotten a lot of attention and that’s before it’s been properly recorded.

In any event, I ran down to the Van Nuys studio just as Jorge, the drummer, was going through his part. It was really interesting watching Chris and Ethan Carlson, the producer, comment on what they were hearing. As someone who knows nothing about the nuances of music, I heard drumbeats while they heard every little detail and knew how to change things to exactly what they wanted. In succession, we hear Dylan on bass and Brett on guitar. Completely fascinating watching and listening to these talented men.

And then Rebecca came for her vocals. It was just so interesting! And Chris with his vocals, making it a duet.

As always, I tell you a little something about the images I take and what I’m doing. Stagg Studios is interesting because it is a really old school recording studio… a lot of analog equipment… just something that’s been around for a long time and has been the scene of a lot of recordings from very famous musicians. But it’s also the darkest den you’ve even been in. For a photographer, that is completely no bueno. So I cranked up the ISO on the camera — that makes it more light sensitive — then battled the fluorescent lighting. In the end, I decided to convert it to grainy black and white, which I think is absolutely fitting for the session.

I’ll let you know when the song is available on iTunes. In the meantime, get a taste of it by renting “Heartbreaker.” It’s a charming film.

UPDATE: “All the Right Reasons” is now out on iTunes!

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