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Why I'm So Damn Passionate About Headshots
Levi Wilson, actor and director extraordinaire
So, I was a senior in college, looking down the barrel at the Real World approaching in a few months.
I was unemployed with no income, living at home and I was slowly realizing that my degree in Creative Writing that I’d been earning was going to be quite useless for a while. I wasn’t making any money learning stage combat and choreographing fights, and that if I had any hope, any hope at all, of making any money as an actor, I would need headshots.
Man, from soup to nuts, I made every rookie mistake imaginable when it came to getting my first set of shots!
First things first, I went with the cheapest option I could find. I knew of one photographer who I had mutual friends with, and she seemed cool to talk to, and I was really just happy to get something for the price.
The second mistake: I didn’t take into consideration that she primarily did fashion and shot models. I’m as unmodelly as it gets, had no idea what to do in front of the camera, no idea how to dress for it, no idea what I was looking for. Unfortunately, neither did she.
The third mistake: we shot outdoors. Around high noon. Without shade for MILES.
The fourth mistake: we really did have a good time, running around the salt marshes in Brooklyn (dude, I didn’t even KNOW there was such a thing! I was all for it!) and we shot and we talked and we shot and we talked, and we didn’t review much in the way of the shots. But, it was, in retrospect, the blind leading the blind.
The fifth mistake: when I got the shots, I wasn’t happy with them. They looked like me.. sorta? I guess? And, some of the “fun” shots were being suggested as headshot material. Some just weren’t flattering. And, I was given no real guidance as to which shot would be a decent representation for me.
My nagging suspicions were confirmed when my older brother (who’s a director, and has worked in casting several times in his career) told me, point blank: there isn’t one shot there that a casting director wouldn’t throw away.
That stung something fierce, but it was one of the pivotal moments of my life.
It was because of this experience that I knew the value of getting proper headshots taken by a professional headshot photographer.
Not a photographer who shoots fashion and can take a headshot, MAYBE.
Or, a friend with a spiffy new DSLR – lookit all the megapixels and things! – who can take a “good picture.”
A headshot photographer.
This is my promise to you:
More than anything else, I want you to have the best time shooting with me in an atmosphere of FUN and DIRECTED focus. I want you to walk away with the best headshots you’ve gotten in your life up until that point, a headshot that gets you called in, time and time again, for the opportunity to go after those dream roles, those name-making, career-changing roles.
I want to give you a tool that helps you SUCCEED.
Hell, even if you don’t work with me – my heart will go on, I promise! – that’s the attitude you must find in your headshot photographer.
And, it doesn’t hurt if they know, personally, what it’s like to have crappy headshots taken of THEM, oh-so-many years ago and wouldn’t wish that upon ANYONE.
Keywords: actor headshots, headshots, headshots new york, headshots new york city, headshots nyc, new york photographer, nyc photographer
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