Keep it simple
To obtain good headshots you have to be able to relax and feel comfortable with your photographer. This is one of Stuart Allen's main goals as well as getting a natural look and feel to your images. The best way to do this is with natural light headshots. If done wrong the results can be harsh but if handled correctly the images will look great. Natural, relaxed and importantly, photographs that look like you. There is nothing worse than actors headshots that look so glossed over that they bare no resemblance to you. They might get you through the door of a few casting directors but they will be more interested in the glossy version of you rather than the actual person standing in front of them.
There is nothing worse than actors headshots that look so glossed over that they bare no resemblance to you.
Two services are available. One digital and the other film based. Both are suitable for actors, actresses, dancers and presenters.
How long does the shoot last?
A digital shoot normally takes between 2 to 3 hours depending on the time taken for clothing and location changes. This will produce between 360 to 450+ images. Shoots of 500+ or not unheard of though. As Stuart does not like to work under the pressure of a countdown timer, photo sessions are never rushed. No more than two shoots tend to be scheduled within a day.
After shooting 40-50 photos we can stop if you wish to review the images immediately. You get to learn where your strengths and weaknesses lie during the session , instead of a few day later when you get the contact sheets in the post. Then it is too late to change anything. We can therefore keep on working on something over and over until it's right. Some actors prefer to just keep on shooting, which is fine as well.
All the images can be in black and white and colour. The photos are captured in uncompressed high resolution "RAW" format so as to give you the best possible quality and maximum control over the final image. This is the digital equivalent of a negative. It is superior to the smaller and lower quality formats you will get when someone offers you the entire photo session on one CD. Each image that you use is specially prepared, so that it is the best it can be. This is done by hand and includes setting of B&W tonal range, colour correction (for perfect skin tones), cropping and final image sharpening.
Colour Black & White
Print selection normally involves waiting for the contact sheets to turn up in the post or a trip to the lab. You then spend hours straining your eyes looking at the tiny photos on sheets. Stuart prefers to keep things simple. Proofs are available online on a web site set up for you. This process is much quicker and less stressful. The website is normally up within 24 hours. Plus you can send the private link to your agent of your best friend to get their opinions, without having to fix up a time to meet up or order an extra set of contact sheets. Of course if you prefer the security of holding the 'real contact sheets' in your hand you can have these emailed to you as an Adobe PDF file and print them as many times as you want, even email them to someone. As you narrow your selection updated contact sheets will be emailed to you. 4x6 proof prints of selected images can be provided at a small extra cost.
Traditional retouching will alter the print, digital retouching makes changes to the digital file. The benefit is stray hairs, skin blemishes or "breakout" can be removed before printing and reproduction. Remember these are the skin blemishes that tend to appear the day of the photo shoot! As well as this more subtle changes can be made. Cameras have a horrible habit of exaggerating parts of your face that you do not want overemphasised. What is great with digital retouching is that small changes can be made so your photo looks like you when you walk into the casting room. The benefit to you is that you do not get rejected the moment the casting director sees you. Plus there is no loss of detail in the image. Ultimately saving time and money. Up to four images will be retouched for you at no extra cost.
Spotlight, Casting Call Pro etc
An image can be prepared in a format that is sized correctly for Spotlight, Casting Call Pro, Castnet, Myspace and many other online service. Again this is done at no extra cost. Stuart can email images direct to Spotlight for you for their book editions. So no more last minute running around to meet that cut off date.
A traditional film shoot offers many of the above benefits but also differs in some ways. A shoot normally last between 1.5 to 2 hours. This will produce 72 images on two rolls of film. The contact sheets will then be posted to you direct from the lab. From here there are a number of services available to you. The film option can be tailored to your individual needs as well. The negatives can also be digitally scanned using a high end film scanner. Please call for more details.
A free consultation is generally completed over the phone, to discuss what you are looking for and learn a little about you. If you have an agent it is important to involve them because they will know clearly what kind of shots will be represent you.
Before the shoot
Get plenty of rest. It's not a good idea to spend the evening before, out all night. Instead try and get some extra sleep. Drink plenty of water coming up to the shoot, as your skin will look healthier. Remember to eat. This is not a time to starve yourself.
Drink plenty of water coming up to the shoot, as your skin will look healthier.
Have a good breakfast and bring a snack to boast your energy along with a bottle of water. Photo shoots can strenuous especially on an empty stomach. Don't rush before or after the shoot. Give yourself plenty of time.
What to bring
For a good variety of looks bring a selection of both casual and more formal clothes. Make sure they are simple and well fitting. Also that they are newish clothes that are in good condition. The camera catches everything. Extreme darks, lights and solid colours photograph the best. Avoid logo's, distracting patterns and stripes, as they will draw attention away from your face. The same goes for necklaces and earrings. Stay away from looser fitting clothes that don't represent your form. For casual looks bring t-shirts/tops, simple shirts/blouses. For more formal/elegent bring well ironed shirts/blouses. Don't leave it to the morning to iron them though, as this has been known to end in disaster! You can never bring to many clothes. We can go through them to pick the best. Also remember if it's a cold day why not bring a pair of gloves. They won't be see in the shot and your feel warmer.
Hair & makeup
Wear your hair as you would to an audition so the headshots look like you. Not a time to experiment with something new. Don't get a fresh haircut etc the day before the shoot. It could be a potential disaster! If you need a new cut do it at least 3 days before to allow yourself time to get use to it. Style your hair as you normally wood before you leave home. Remember to bring any hair product with you, along with a small mirror just incase. Also for actresses, if you have long hair and intend to have some photos with your hair up and down, come along with your hair down. Your hair will not look as good if it's been tied up for a while.
For actresses, if you have long hair and intend to have some photos with your hair up and down, come along with your hair down. Your hair will not look as good if it's been tied up for a while.
If you wish to have a makeup artist at the shoot this can be arranged. This will be charged to you separately, direct from the makeup artist. If you have a makeup artist you like already, you can bring them along instead. A thing to think though is, will that same makeup artist be helping you when you go to that early morning audition or you suddenly get a call from your agent to say you have an audition in an hours time? Probably not...
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