I love working with and meeting new talent because of the new relationships that are formed and be able to use my own talents to help take their careers to the next level. Addie reached out to me shortly before heading into her sophomore year up at NYU to update her acting headshot portfolio. Being a graduate of the Youth Performing Arts School in Louisville KY, she knew first hand the importance of having the best professional actor headshots ready on the whim for castings. But this time was a little different, entering into her second year at NYU she is now eligible to audition and what better way to start that new journey than to have a set of the best actor headshots of her career. She came to the studio ready to work, kicking out some stunning expressions left and right, by the time it was done we had a pretty robust range of commercial headshots along with theatrical headshots, a key set of tools every actor should have on hand. An essential factor in all this was her coming to set with a high and bubbly energy mixing with my enthusiasm of wanting the absolute best for her, headshots that have visual impact! As the session wrapped I felt a new friendship had been formed and I now look forward to seeing her bright future grow! Best of luck Addie!
Hair and Make-Up by the talented Lyndsey Elliot of The Beauty Patrol
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I first met Clark Spalding at an Actors 101 prep class for the Star Wars, Hand of the Empire, a young and aspiring actor whom I've seen first hand the potential this guy has. Venturing further into his acting career he knew he needed some rockin' headshots, this would actually be his first professional headshot session. Clark mentioned that he use to submit selfies for casting calls, it's a path many actors take when they first start out. But such as machinist who uses a Starrett dial caliper, or a nurse who uses a Littman stethoscope, actors need the best headshots possible, an image that is going to set their brand apart as this is their tool of the trade to get them work. Once he reached out to me, we discussed some ideas and acknowledged that we would be building his portfolio up from scratch, so we expanded from a headshot session to a full personal branding development session. We did this by covering commercial and theatrical headshots in the studio then going outside for some environmental 3/4 and full body portraits. A natural talent to work with, we had plenty of material to work with when selecting the images to retouch. I look forward to seeing him in action and as he put it "I feel much more confident submitting to casting calls now that i have these instead of selfies".
After our session I feel more comfortable in front of a camera than I ever have, but also have incredible headshots that I can feel confident submitting to auditions. - Clark Spalding.
Being able to provide that level of confidence to someone nurtures my natural tendency to help the next person out and allows me to tell their story through my art of image making. With actors, we get to have fun with not just them as themselves, but as different characters or roles they are going for. So, if you are looking to take your story to the next level, please feel free to reach out and let's start discussing your story!
I have worked with Centria several times on creative collaboration over the past year, a true talent in her own right. Fun, energetic and commands presence when she's in front of the camera. Her manager contacted me about updated her portfolio with professional modeling headshots as she was preparing to head down to Atlanta, Georgia for some casting calls. She wanted her to be prepared with the best professional headshot images possible, so worked through several different looks giving her a range from both commercial and theatrical headshots. We even worked in a little character headshot set inspired by Janet Jackson before it was all said and done with. Lots of good vibes that day that included lots of trips down memory lane. Centria brought her newborn daughter who was named after R&B royalty Aaliyah, yes we got a few candids of them. Talking of those days when Aaliyah was on the radio led into other 90's R&B reminiscing. Centria, her mother Natasha and I had quite the candid conversation of old school jams such as Jodeci, Silk and Shai. What does all this mean? It means good music and conversation were healthy ingredients to this session which we all couldn't be happier with! I'll be looking forward to seeing her in action!
Character Headshot with Editorial Close-Ups
Towards the end of the session with Centria and I, her mother Natasha, asked me if I had another session that after. I did not have anything else on the books for the Saturday. So she tells me that her other daughter Jasmine is a budding model and needs a kick start to her portfolio and books her session right there on spot. Boom, as we wrap with Centria, Jasmine jumps in front of my camera. We decided to concentrate on getting a commercial headshot as this is what casting directors and agents prefer the most. After a little bit of coaching and direction we land this knock out smile below. 1st part done! Next we head outside and walk around the studio's neighborhood getting some lifestyle portraits for her portfolio, within a few a minutes she was warmed up and throwing strong poses and expressions at the camera left and right! We had a good time getting her career started on the right foot, now I look forward to watching her grow and having her step back in front of my camera again in the future!
Gary is the best. With my daughter Jasmine who is a beginner in modeling, he made her feel comfortable in front of camera and gave her some tips, while doing her headshots. Thank you, Gary we will be back for more photoshoots."
Jasmine Massey Commercial Headshot
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Yes, Headshots need Retouching and the Philosophy Behind It // Louisville Photographer Gary Barragan
We are all born equal and perfect in our own unique ways, there is no doubt about that. If that's the case, then why do our headshots and portraits need to be retouched? Well, there are two primary reasons for this, the first is to correct any slight imperfections and the other is for creative aesthetics. I'd like to focus on the first reason, which comes from circumstances out of our control such as blemishes, fly away hairs and in some cases your clothes (wrinkles or lint). Sure there are steps and tips you can take to help with your skin, I actually talk about here, and even hiring a professional make-up artist can do a world of justice but sometimes human nature simply has other plans for us. This is where my retouching comes in. My process is what is considered the natural method, where I am only removing these imperfections. It's not the high end retouching you would see in beauty and fashion magazine. By doing so, I'm able to retain the organic appearance of your skin and features, a key point in a true headshot. Then to just to give it that extra pop, I will go in and subtly enhance the highlights and shadows in key areas of the image, we call this dodging and burning. By applying this technique I can add a bit of depth to the image, which in return creates visually pleasing effect to the human eye.
Now, to touch (see what I did there?) on the second reason, creative aesthetics, I will start by saying this is more for actors and models. Venturing into subjective territory, should I go this route, I will tend to apply a color grade to compliment the mood, or I might take the dodging and burning up a notch or two, it really depends on story we are trying to tell. As an actor or model, this where we can really have our fun as we explore capturing character or theatrical headshots. This is all determined while we are in the studio after we've captured what is needed for your commercial headshots.
It takes a headshot specialist to know and understand how to properly retouch these types of images, and through my experience and perfected lighting I've mastered this technique. Think about it like this, on a scale of 1 to 10, once the light is dialed into you, we will see 10s all through the session coming straight of the camera. Then once we've selected the best of the best from those 10s, I will then taken the to the next level, an 11 and create the most visual impact for viewer, which is what we want when people see your headshot. In the real world, there are only few seconds before someone thumbs the scroll or flips to the next 8 x 10, we want to stop that, grab their attention and get you hired. Below are a few examples of natural retouching where you can see how I've applied the techniques, then there is one example of a creative retouch. My goal is that after reading this blog, people will understand the philosophy behind why images are retouched. Leave your thoughts below and thank you for taking the time to read this! Cheers amigos!
Examples of Retouched Commercial and Theatrical Headshots
Actors Headshots - Hair and Make-up by Pam Butler of The Beauty Patrol
Hair and Make-up by Pam Butler of The Beauty Patrol
Personal Branding Headshot
Examples of Retouched Headshots with Creative Aesthetics
What exactly constitutes a headshot? By definition, approximately 30% of a headshot’s frame should be taken up by your face with the remaining frame's real estate split up between your shoulders and negative space… nothing more, nothing less. But now days, I’m starting to see this happen quite often, a headshot advertisement with an image that has the person’s arms or hands and in some cases 3/4th of a person’s body, this may leave you puzzled because you’ve just read the word “headshot”. That’s not fair to you, in fact it’s misleading, and once you understand what technically defines a headshot, you will better appreciate the photographers who specialize in providing this service. I've opened this education piece with the technical side of creating a headshot, but let's not forget the art that goes into creating it as well. As your photographer, it's my job to capture your best true to life appearance that allows for your confidence and personality to radiate. With those two elements combined (technical and art) we define the true form of a headshot. Now the work that goes into harnessing that confidence and personality is a bit far more complex but we’ll save that for when we begin our consultation. But for now, let’s just think of your headshot as the most up close and organic portrait of you. No arms or hands that can lead the viewer from your expression. No heavy or beauty make-up to mask your true self, no posing on a chair or table to completely switch up the aesthetics or the goal of what a headshot is designed to do. By sharing this you my friends, I hope to shed light on the value of what goes into creating a genuine image of who you truly are. Cheers!
Below are examples of what is considered a professional headshot by industry standards.
Examples of styles that are sometimes mistaken as headshots.
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A personal journal about any given day in my photography career where I will write about anything from portraits and headshots to sharing my educational experiences. Thank you for taking the time to stop by, it's my pleasure to share my stories with you!