Headshots for Actors, Artists, and Professionals
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journal

A simple journal of my thoughts on photography and the process of making work.

JESSICA MYHR - Stylist

Jessica Myhr is a wonderful stylist living in NYC. Many of my clients have worked with her prior to shooting a session with me. Their sessions are always extremely specific. The clothing and colors support and enhance each look without looking pushed. When a client tells me that they are working with her I know the clothing will be fantastic and the client will be confident and specific. This all amounts to a great session. A great session leads to more jobs for the actors. Isn’t that the reason for shooting headshots in the first place?

When you meet a client, how does that first impression guide you?

 Before I take on a client, I usually meet with him or her to do an initial consultation, to determine whether I can help that particular client achieve their goals and get a sense of their essence as a person.  First impressions in our industry are very important, because as an actor you sometimes have less than two minutes to not only do your work in the room, but leave the room with an impression of yourself, hopefully, something strong, memorable and authentic. When I see a client for the first time, I cannot help but assess them – What kind of energy do they have? What would I cast them in? How do I categorize what they are wearing?  And ultimately, does their look, essence and the roles they play match up? Usually, there is some disconnect in one of these areas which brought them to me in the first place. My job is to help the client achieve clarity- that who they want to be and what roles they want to play- become inherent in their image and style.

 When color took over headshots, did you see that as a major advantage, or has it become a competition between who has the brightest shirt on?

 I do see color as an advantage, especially for actors pursuing film and television. The medium is in color and it makes sense that we can see actors as true to their likeness as possible. Theatre has more range, in my opinion, and therefore more imagination with look and how image can be altered. TV moves so quickly, from the casting to the shooting process, that there isn’t the same amount of time, it is more of a “what you see is what you get” kind of medium. Initially, I do think getting a color headshot was focused on popping bold colors to attract attention. And to some extent still, actors think if they wear a bright colored shirt, they will look better on camera and in photographs. This is not accurate and can be very distracting if it is not a color that makes the actor look their best. When I work with my clients, I do a specific color test to analyze what palette of colors truly make the actor look amazing and draw us to them personally, not just the color itself.

Are your clients skeptical of the process at all? Do you get “Why do I need this?” If so, why do they?

 Yes, I think in this business a lot of people prey on the gullibility of actors. They should be skeptical. Most of the clients that come to me know that something isn’t working; whether it is picking out a great audition outfit, prepping appropriately for a headshot session, or working on their image as a brand. They come to realize after a few sessions with me that their image is vital to working as an actor and communicating accurately what they are selling. What is an actor’s business card? A headshot. We are not just names on a card, but an image is associated with our name. Our image IS our product before people in the business can identify our work as artists. If you are confused about what your image is saying in the room, it’s time to do some homework, like any smart company would and devise some strategies about where you want to be.  I tell many of my clients, the one thing you can control in the audition room is your image…what do you want it to say?