Shooting with...myself?! | Boston Actor Headshot Photography

So I took some headshots last night. Ok, that's not true. I had some headshots taken last night! Maggie Hall, my partner in photography and also cuddling, helped me get started on what will hopefully be my calling card as an actor for the next year and a half or so. 

Stagesource auditions were a couple weeks ago, and they ask for 45 (!) headshots to give out to directors and casting directors. This, two years in a row, plus all the other auditions I've been to, have drained my supply of my old headshot, taken in late 2012 by the wonderful Jordan Matter. (If you live in NYC and want an AMAZING headshot, book him!!) It's been almost three years now, which is about the time most actors should be refreshing their headshots. I haven't aged a whole lot between 25-27, nor have I gained or lost a ton of weight (both reasons to get new shots, by the way!) but I figured I'd use all of this fancy photography gear that I own and my fancy photographer girlfriend to get some new pictures of my face. Also, MPIX is having a 40% off sale on prints on May 1st, so I wanted to order mine that day and save a bunch of money. Note that these shots are not yet retouched- I'm going to ask for help picking one (like you should!) before going at it with my Wacom. It will be very weird smoothing out my own crow's feet!

By the time we decided to shoot, it was about 8PM, so outdoors was out of the question (disappointing, since I prefer outdoor shots). We set up my usual giant octabox, grabbed a 5DIII with the 135mm f/2L, and got to shooting! 

It was weird being on the other side of the camera for a change! I didn't feel awkward or self-conscious, but it did give me some great insight to what it is like to be the subject as opposed to taking the photos. For one thing, unless you're a model, (and even then, probably not) you have no idea what you look like. The faces we make in the mirror that we think look good are rarely faces we make in real life, and I found that the squinty, pouty, smarmy glare that I often give myself in my morning reflection looked odd and very posed on camera. The best shots ended up being the ones that were relaxed, natural, BUT ALSO well-posed, which gives you an idea of how challenging both posing for and capturing a headshot is. It is a lot like acting, actually- one has to listen to the instructions from the director/photographer and live in the world they've created, with your chin out and making sure the audience can see and hear you, etc, but one must also behave naturally and truthfully- no making faces! 

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I'm glad I took the time to have Maggie take my photo (I'll tell people I took it just so I can sound interesting, but in reality it was Maggie) so that I could remember what it was like to be scrutinized, posed, told how "asymmetrical my face is" (it really is, like, really.), blinded by giant flashes, and get really excited about how good my photos look all over again. I'll keep this experience in mind the next time I photograph one of you! Tune in tomorrow for the next entry, where I'm going to talk about the selection process, from my perspective as both an actor and a photographer.