A few weeks ago, I got a call from Mark asking for some headshots.  I met Mark through the film I recently did – The Estranged.  Now, as readers of this blog will know – I have done a lot of headshots in my time, and if I have said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times.  They. Are. Hard.

Your classic headshot looks something like this. (Albeit normally being vertical – I have used landscape images for the purpose of the blog!)


There you are: nice, soft, even light – a glimmer of a catch light in the eyes to help them ‘sparkle.’ all with a nice, neutral and natural background….bleugh.

Now, don’t get me wrong, if this is what the client is after, I am more than happy to deliver.  Thankfully, Mark is a bit more demanding, and wanted a few more shots with more character.   I then thought that this would be a perfect springboard to show how using different quality and direction of light can completely change a subject.  This is even more vital in Mark’s line of work.  As an actor he needs to be able to convey his versatility in just one image.  He needs a variety of headshots that can portray the whole range: young/old,  vulnerable/strong, hip/nerdy…it is a real challenge.  Of course, any Director of photography worth his salt can light a person to tell the story, but any which way you can help the casting director see the actor in the right light (if you’ll excuse the pun) is inevitably going to help.  The right headshot will get Mark more auditions, and once they see how awesome he is more work will follow.  Fact.

So, remember that last (bleugh) headshot?  Well, here is the same actor, in slightly different attire pre-shave, and in a different light:


Looks older doesn’t he?  Maybe it’s just the beard?  Nope – it’s the light.  Here he is again; different clothes with a strong backlight and very soft fill:


And the final one – same position, totally different light – totally different feel.  Totally awesome headshot.


A huge thanks to Mark for booking me…I hope you like the headshots sir – we certainly got a lot of variety from the session! And thanks to you guys as ever for reading…more photography adventures to come!