Generally when your a photography student at University who knows a few drama students, you tend to get asked to do a lot of head-shots for them. I first started doing them when I was in my first year when I didn’t know too much about lighting and didn’t really understand how important head-shots for actors are. Over the last 2 and a bit years, I’ve never turned down a single person when they’ve asked me to do them and I think because of this, I’ve gained a great deal of experience and made a few friends.
Recently, I’ve realised that a career in photography is my only option. It would be difficult for me to do anything else when I have experienced a life as a working photographer. Therefore, my aim in life is to not be wildly adventurous and dream big, but to be realistic and know that if I can survive by making a basic living from my photography, then I will be the happiest snapper out there. Because of this realisation, at the start of my third year I set a price list and started charging for my work. I want to put value to what I’m doing and for people to know that photography is my job, not just something to do with my spare time. It’s nervous to set pricing and expect people to pay, but I already had a small portfolio of head-shots gathered. Last year after doing some for a production called 4.48 Psychosis, the director Adam Morely has been encouraging students to hire me and take my shots to their London showcases. I am now hired at an average of 3 times a week at my hourly rate.
I’ve found after shooting so many potential actors that casting directors will hire someone solely on their headshot. If they look too happy for a serious role they will just skip past their picture. It’s my job to make sure that these people get the most variety of expressions and outfit changes as possible so that they can use them for different roles.
With charging people I felt like I needed to improve the quality of images, so I taught myself how to do professional retouching on Photoshop. This was done through a mixture of trial and error, photoshop lessons and online tutorials. I am now fluent in several methods of retouching including Frequency Separation, byRo and Touch Up techniques. I’ve became confident in the studio as I work in there every week trying new lighting techniques in my spare time or just trying something new when I have a job.The next thing I would like to learn is how to use Lightroom and to light groups of people evenly and hope to do that in the next few months.
Here’s some of the head-shots I’ve taken recently: