Last week I did photograph 2 Perth actors who coincidently are represented by the same agency.
One of the actors was a young gentleman I had photographed in February 2016 years for his first set of actor headshots. Those shots ended up getting him an audition.
Now a year and a half later, he is returning for a new set of headshots. The interesting point here is that the agency representing him has a dedicated headshot photographer, however his mother chose to have me craft his new headshots even it will cost her twice as much because of the standard and quality of the images.
The young gentleman is very articulate however very reserved by nature until he gets to know you. I was made aware of this during our previous session. Back then I made sure to connect with him when I first met him at the car on their arrival at my studio. This second time was a lot easier because of the connection and interaction we had on the previous occasion.
On this second session, we had a great time goof balling in the studio and the results were outstanding.
Mother knows best.
Would you have gone for cheaper price or know quality based on previous experience?
The demand for a skilled commercial headshot photographer is very paramount today more than ever before since everybody now has a digital identity. We are very concerned with searching one another on Google more and more. The unfortunate thing is that not too many people have quality headshots for their online profiles. Most people deem themselves to be not photogenic hence prefer to hide behind an Avatar or some landscape image taken on a family vacation. This is where headshot photographer such as Jason Ranalli can make a lot of difference by eliminating the anxiety and pressure that people get in front of a camera. I had the opportunity to have an encounter with Jason Ranalli, a world class Commercial Headshot Photographer based in Philadelphia – USA, to tell us a little bit about himself and his headshot business, the opportunities that he explores and the challenges he must surmount at times in the market place.
Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you fall into this game of headshot photography?
I’ve been doing photography for over a decade at this point; first as a hobby then taking on side gigs outside of my day job which was in Finance IT for various Wall St firms. I left that career, relocated to Philadelphia from NYC and was determined to be self employed. Photography kept calling me and headshots were where I saw the most potential in the market. Around two years ago I came across Peter Hurley who is a master commercial headshot photographer and learning from him forever changed how I was going to do any kind of headshots or portraiture going forward. His style fostered more of a connection with people than any style I had seen before and I loved it.
As you are growing your headshot business, what are the aspects that really present you with challenges or opportunities?
The biggest challenge is convincing folks how much positive impact a well crafted headshot can make; that it shouldn’t be just an afterthought or a five-minute snap-n-go. Because there are so many bad commercial headshot photographers out there. Folks just are not aware that true quality does exist and it comes from someone who specializes in this craft. If all you have ever eaten is fast-food you don’t really know what you are missing until you go to a restaurant serving top-end dishes with fresh ingredients.
However, that challenge also presents great opportunity. There are so many folks across the professional spectrum who not only may never have had a great headshot but never a headshot at all so the potential is quite big. The key is getting folks to see the difference and the potential it can give them.
As a commercial headshot photographer, with the myriad of professions and industries out there requiring the services of a talented headshot photographer like yourself, which professions form the basis of your business and why?
My business mostly centers around two legs one of which is actors/models who need quality headshots for their portfolio. That side needs headshots with expressions that stand out from the stack they’re competing against. The second leg is corporate clients who need polished looking commercial headshots that show them as competent and friendly. Up until now both the status quo for both these categories of clients was having headshots with blank expressions, poor lighting, poor positioning and distracting backgrounds.
However, that status quo is just not good enough anymore. People need to look engaging in their headshots. They need to be giving something genuine back to the person looking at them because being genuine is endearing – flaws and all.
Are you in a saturated market?
I sure am. Like most larger cities in the US there are probably a few hundred commercial photographers servicing the greater Philadelphia area working many sectors, price and skill levels of the spectrum.
Is headshot a niche market for you?
It certainly is. When I looked across the market here in Philadelphia I saw a lot of photographers but very few that actually had specific sectors they specialized in. There tend to be a lot of photographers who do many things be it wedding photography, newborn, families, corporate, commercial, headshots, etc.
While you can certainly be good at more than one genre of photography I saw the need for a high-end headshot specialist in this market because there was a clear void. For instance I can go to a family doctor who has a diverse range of experience and get a very general treatment, however, if I know I have a problem with my foot I’m most likely going to have to go to a podiatrist – someone who specializes in that discipline.
With so many photographers around, how do you go about getting new clients?
My best clients are always coming in via referrals and those clients are great because they’re already somewhat well versed in what I do. That being said, even though the market here is saturated with photographers there really is enough business for everyone. I say this because Philadelphia still is a fairly large hub for a lot of industries, corporate commerce, theater and even commercial acting.
When I’m not shooting I’m generally networking and looking for another group of awesome clients who I know can benefit from the visual branding that I can provide for them. I can also say that supporting the local businesses, charities, and non-profits around one’s area can solidify your place in the community and help you stand apart from folks looking for quick money; you have to give back which is far beyond just taking a great headshot of someone.
I have seen some very unpleasant headshots around, what challenges do you have to surmount to get such stylised and sophisticated looking headshots of your clients?
First and foremost I am a commercial headshot photographer and I don’t necessarily consider myself an artist in the conventional sense. Yes, it is an artistic endeavor but I’m really taking artistic elements across lighting, composition, clothing, makeup, and expression and coming up with a product that is commercially viable for my clients. This means if you’re an actor you’re going to get booked for more gigs and if you’re a salesperson you’re going to get hit up by more clients because you have presented yourself in a fresh modern way that stands out.
To have a stylized and sophisticated headshot we have to take a look at what is commercially viable now. There’s nothing wrong with having wrinkled muslin backgrounds, hard shadows on the face, blank expressions, or really fake looking smiles from an artistic standpoint much like nothing is wrong with wearing bell-bottom jeans out and about. However, both those styles look VERY dated now and tastes have changed. If the style of your headshot looks dated then you in turn look dated and that’s not commercially viable.
Do you have a system or workflow that you use to get your clients going in order to craft the kind of shots you usually produce?
I definitely do but that process depends on the client. Some folks are completely comfortable with themselves, are very outgoing and have few reservations about being in front of a camera. On the other end of the spectrum there are folks that are not necessarily comfortable in front of a camera and may be a bit more timid overall.
Both of these clients are going to get a great headshot but I’m going to go about it in a different way. For the first client I’m going to have to keep them in the zone and gently nudge them to the places where they look their best and be their mirror for them. For the second client my job is to just get their mind off the camera and the lights. If they can follow my positioning instructions as best they can and carry a conversation with me we’re already setup for major success.
But despite these rough generalizations everyone that comes through is unique and I may need to approach them differently. There is no single way to get a client going in a positive direction there is only experience.
How do you get your client to overcome their hang ups about being photographed?
This is hard to do but I feel it is somewhat key in making a great headshot – you have to help your client get over those hangups whether it be from a bad prior headshot experience, dislike for being in front of the camera, something their insecure about etc. It starts with taking the time to talk to them before you start actually shooting and making it clear that it’s a team effort and you won’t leave them hanging nor let them go with something they won’t like.
Overall, though, the process should be very lighthearted. My studio is the one place where everything can be a joke – we’re not saving lives here and the less serious folks are the better results we are going to get together.
Could you tell me a little about how you approach your session?
I always approach these sessions with the aim to enjoy it and getting my clients to a place where they’re enjoying it too. I have heard so many clients say before the session that they hate getting their picture taken, however, when they leave they’re telling me how much they enjoyed the process.
Keeping it less than serious is a big part of the approach and since we’re spending nearly two hours together it is important that it feels less like pulling teeth and more like two people just hanging out.
Do you take as many shots as you can during a session and hope to get some good ones along the way, or do you approach your every shot systematically?
Honestly, when I first started taking headshots I didn’t know what I was doing so I was just snapping away hoping for something good. You would get good shots and even some great ones but it was more luck than a process.
As time has gone by I approach things much more systematically now. I’m starting by looking at my clients in an objective way that they may not look at themselves. The goal is to find what features of their face and expressions play best and emphasize those. The more you shoot the quicker you recognize these things. With each shot you are looking to gravitate around that zone rather than having their position and expressions go all over the place constantly. When you get a great shot you know it and you don’t need to keep shooting blindly.
Many thanks to Jason for taking the time to give a brief insight on his headshot business. More of Jason’s work can be seen on:
As 2015 is over and we are about to embark on new journeys to achieve our professional and business goals and objectives toward success in 2016. What better way it would be to start with a new set of professionally crafted headshot?
How often do people visit our LinkedIn profiles and the ”about us” page of our website trying to find out more about us and the services and products we offer? Well you may not think so, but we are leaving a first impression on those people with the business headshot you have on display.
So let us 2016 start you as a business professional that you are by having a professional headshot that show you as such. Lightbent Images & Photography is Perth headshot specialist because this is all we do day in and do out. We tailor and craft your headshot with an end result that look simple and elegant but ensuring that you look the most confident to your peers, clients, shareholders, customers that you know what you are doing and also approachable to your team members, business partners, employees that may come to you with ideas and problems they may be have.
Remember LinkedIn is not a social forum or social network environment. It is the environment that you interact with other professionals and you must show yourself as a professional as well.
Let us help you with that professionally crafted headshot that shows you as a confident and approachable professional.
Nowadays it takes only a few seconds and some undesirable pixels to handicap our career prospects. It takes only a second to judge everything in a person and image we see in front of us. If this is the case thus it must hold true for head hunters, clients, vendors and many others getting their first impression from what we present about ourselves online with a non professional produced headshot.
According to studies, happy and competent looking faces usually come off as more trustworthy. Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden notes in a recent study that ”Face perception involves a specialised neuronal network and is one of the most developed visual perceptual skills in humans. Though we have been trained to never judge a book by its cover, many researches adhere to the notion that first impressions are more than often correct. Yet people tend to still use pictures such as party or vacations shots revealing too unwanted information about their surroundings for their professional headshot profiles.
People don’t seem to realise that a poor choice of profile picture may be damaging to their professional brand and deterred potential professional opportunities in an environment such as LinkedIn. We are all at the mercy of everyone else’s snap judgements about our capabilities, likability, intelligence, approachability and confidence. Only if you are lucky enough that people would go beyond their emotional impulse to decide whether to take a deeper look at you. Chances are they are not and you should not bet on that.
Time to rethink your headshot for your professional headshot, branding and online profiles. As, Perth Professional Headshot Specialist, I’m here to help you. Give me a call.
A headshot as it stands a close up of your face, neck and a little bit of shoulder(s); Your headshot is a synopsis of your whole being in one shot that is captivating enough to stop a casting director, producer, write or a director going through the 100s if not 1000s of actor portfolios to take a second look at your headshot for a second look to see if you fit a role they have on offer.
Your headshot is as important as how your approach to your professional acting career. Your headshot is not the one you or your friend snapped with the IPhone. It is not the one your family and friends think you look good. It is not the one you think you look cool. It is not definitely the one you had taken at the Post Office or Passport Photo Service kiosk.
A good actor headshot that truly looks like you showing your personality and represents you the best is made by the use of good lighting which is the main ingredient in photography plus bringing your exuberant personality to the fore which is also an art in headshot photography. Photo means light and Graphos in Greek means to write or to draw. So a professional photographer’s specialising in headshots knows how to carve your face using light to show you at your best to the viewers you intend to captivate.
I am asking you to rethink your actor headshot and get in with me so I can create this elegant, simple but yet stylish actor headshot that is an eye candy to get you noticed? Check out these stylised and cinematic samples below.
When is a good time to have a new headshot? Some will say when they are thinking about changing jobs. Thinking this way means that you may be missing out on new opportunities that are knocking on your door. Chances are that they (the head hunters) are looking at your online profile all the time.
So first impression is matters because when someone lands on a good looking headshot in a profile, they might want to find out more about you and continue to look at your profile.
Studies have shown that your professional headshot matters more when it comes to first impression.
People will see you as an interesting person by how proud you are of yourself and how good you look both offline and online. Now there is no reason to think about when you should have a new headshot. This month of August Lightbent Images & Photography is offering both of its sought after cinematic and stylised headshots at a very attractive discounted prices.
Make that investment in your career and future opportunities.
Needless to say that you are always looking your best offline, so why not look your best online all of the time.
Lightbent Images & Photography is in a very special class when it comes to creating your headshot. Though we do portrait as well, our specialty is headshot. As the driven engine behind Lightbent, my specialised ability and artful way to bring your personality in the forefront of your session because I am a Protege of the best Headshot Photographer in the world Peter Hurley author of The Art Of Behind The Headshot and Illuminating The Face In order to maintain that specialised ability and continuing acquiring redefined skills and advanced know how in The Art Behind The Headshot, I also have the backing of my mentor and leading Headshot Photographer in the Middle East Frederik Bisbjerg of redHORN Photography. Under the weekly coaching and tutelage of Peter and the constant mentoring of Frederik, I am able to create your headshot using new techniques and make you look to part with the best in the world.
Peter and Frederik commitments to excellence are infusing in my work on a daily basis to give you the best headshot you had ever had. I will make a better version of yourself during your session. You don’t have to think or worry about how I will make a better version of yourself. I got you covered. So
Most often I do get friend requests from people I don’t know. When looking at the thumbnail, if the photo looks good and attractive, I will click on it to see the big picture before contemplating accepting or rejecting the request. So if human being behaviours are the same all over, then most of us would do the same. Having a good professional headshot improves how good or bad people will see you.
The Out To Lunch Look This image of my soon to be 5 year old son characterises how most headshots either as no personality, absent, no connection or too eager with cheesy smile. This is what we are conditioned to when having a headshot. Confident, friendly and approachable
The image below of my son shows, at Lightbent Images And Photography, I chill you down and beef you up to create a shot that shows your personality as being confident, friendly and approachable.
If you think that you don’t look good, don’t take good picture in general, then I challenge (not guarantee) you to contact me and bring along the best headshot you have (but don’t show it to me) and if you don’t leave my session with the best headshot you ever had, then the session is on me.
I’ll be so pleased to see you take me on this challenge. Waiting for you to get in touch.