This week winter hit in NYC, but thanks to the FSU/Asolo Conservatory Class of 2010 in Sarasota I got to miss most of it. They brought me down to shoot their headshots, individually and as a group. I've traveled all over to shoot acting headshots, but this experience was among my very favorites. The weather didn't hurt (Sarasota- 75 degrees/ NYC- 25 degrees), but the real joy came from working with the class. They were terrific hosts- warm, funny, enthusiastic and easy to drink with! They are a tight group, and refreshingly supportive of one another (a quality I wanted to capture in their group photos). Hopefully they had as much fun as I did.
My approach to class headshots is the same as my approach to my NYC clients- it's essential that I shoot each class member in a unique way. Given that all their headshots will be displayed side by side for their showcase, it will be glaringly obvious if I don't achieve this goal. Usually photographers will take a class job as a big payout, and try to shoot as many students as possible every day. Of course, they can't possibly make each shot unique, so they just set up a room with some lights and bang it out. Obviously this doesn't serve the actors, but it makes the photographer a lot of money with little effort. My approach is to shoot 4-6 actors per day, and concentrate on the variety- never repeat a location if possible, and feature each actor as an individual. If this means I have to take a little time to get to know them while sharing rounds of drinks, so be it! It's a small sacrifice for great headshots.