HEADSHOTS: CHOOSING A PHOTOGRAPHER



Headshots fascinate me… the whole process. They have nothing whatsoever to do with acting but are such an important part of the business of being an actor. They are photographs of us when our work is about being someone else. We have them done so rarely yet beat ourselves up for not being ‘better’ at having them done. They play a key part in whether we get seen for a role but can give no inkling as to our talent. And most of us put having them taken on a par with a trip to the dentist.


When I was in my final year at drama school I had four lots of headshots done. The first set was unrecognisable – another student literally asked me who they were of. The second set was just dull. The third set was really glamorous – and not me or my casting at all. The final set was wonderful because I looked at them and recognised myself, albeit on a good day. They managed to capture something energetic that suggested who was going to walk through the door. I looked alive and interesting, rather than the usual frightened rabbit who somehow kept appearing in my photos.


I started taking headshots because I didn’t like having my own taken and got fed up with leaving sessions feeling like a bad model, having spent lots of money and with photos of someone who I wouldn’t want to have a cup of tea with, let alone employ. I figured there had to be a way of photographing actors that was more actor-friendly than the usual headshot experience and so set about creating it.


I didn’t want conveyor belt photography – in and out in an hour – but I did want to take time listening to what the actor knows about himself, their face, their casting, thereby creating the session together. I actively sought to move away from the idea of someone who has never met you before imposing their idea of who you are on a very important marketing tool. It fascinates me watching people ‘switch on’ at a certain point during a session. It is at th