For an Actor, Backstory Makes All The Difference
Monday, August 20, 2018
By Len Marks Photography

An actor’s headshot portfolio is often the first impression they provide for a job opportunity or role. Whether we like it or not, sometimes we only get one shot to impress the casting director and get a call. The headshots must depict the depth and range of character the actor can cover, in a series of static images. The photograph must also capture the actor’s own essence- the unique piece of the individual that is brought into a role or scenario.

Some Photographers May Not Understand How To Style The Actor Headshot

To create the most effective story of character development for actors, the photographer must have an expertise in photography and composition, of course. But some other traits required of a great headshot photographer may not be so obvious.

Expertise in lighting- lighting can be the difference between flat, boring pictures and dramatic, expressive images. This is one of the reasons why using your iPhone selfie as a headshot probably isn’t a great idea. Lighting can create interest, mystique, emotion and ambiance. It can help tell your dynamic story in a still image. It is worth the time to do research to find a headshot photographer with an interest in diverse lighting techniques. Check out his or her studio. What type of lighting gear

Communication/ Rapport Are Key!

Backstory- one of the biggest differentiators between a good and a great actor headshot photographer is the photographer’s ability to create authentic expression from the actor to tell his or her story. The interview/conversation with the actor prior to the shoot is key. The rapport developed between the photographer and actor during this pre-shoot conversation helps put them at ease. The photographer then uses a backstory by creating a detailed scenario to set the scene and elicit natural expressions from the actor. This tactic renders more intriguing and telling images that offer insight into actor’s ability to be wholly consumed by a character while still letting their own self shine. Tone, feeling, expression and drama are evident in headshot portfolios shot with backstory. Of paramount importance, is the photographer’s ability to develop a trusting relationship with the actor so the interaction seems easy and natural.

Len, a self-proclaimed lighting gear-head, routinely employs backstory as a tool for capturing his actor clients’ most engaging looks. Check out his portfolio to see what a difference it makes and then contact us to schedule your next shoot!


Leave a comment:
Lenny Marks - Hi Susan, Would love to speak with you. Please call the office at 631-367-1219. Thanks for contacting us!
susan campisi - I would like to know the prices for headshots and what is included with that headshot package.