Kay from Juxtaposition Dance Studio in downtown Winston-Salem, heard that Sarah, one of her favorite guest dance teachers, was looking for a headshot photographer. She recommended me! I had done Kay's lifestyle maternity photos a few months earlier.
Sarah was heading to a ballet audition and she wanted to walk in the door with a professional headshot in hand.
She booked her photoshoot with me, I sent her my "How to Prepare for a Headshot Session" guide, and we were ready to go!
We met at Juxtaposition Dance Studio and walked downtown.
Sarah wore a neutral grey, which is a color that works for pretty much any skin tone.
It is important to wear a neutral color so that your shirt won't be too distracting.
As soon as I meet my headshot client in person, my brain starts choosing what colors will work best for their skin tone.
Pretty much my brain goes a million miles a minute while we are walking about, choosing the best spots, which will be unique to each client.
Her cool skin tone and blue eyes lead us to try a steel background to accentuate her eyes and obtain a crisp, refreshing look.
But then, we found a red wall. Usually, I like to stay away from red, brick walls, it's very "90's high school portrait" to me. However, in this circumstance, the red brick wall was magical. During editing I softened the lines of the bricks to create a more subdued feel.
As soon as I took the first few photos and turned the camera around so Sarah could see them, we both knew red was her color. We didn't need to go anywhere else for her 30 minute headshot photoshoot.
Her audition required her to bring in a headshot, and a photo of her first arabesque.
We found a spot that had natural lighting in front and behind her. Thankfully, as a performer she wasn't shy in front of the people walking by since we were in a location with public traffic.
We waited for a gap between customers walking, and she struck her pose.
For this photo, I created two different edits for her to choose as she likes. For the first edit, I blew out the background to simplify the photo and draw attention to her form.
For the second edit, I left in a few pieces of the background to give it a slightly more realistic look.
Since she's a ballerina, I knew she would most likely need black and white headshots for future performance brochures.
Have you ever seen a live performance of The Nutcracker? Often the headshots are in black in white in order to create a uniform look in the program.
However, I do not recommend bringing a black and white headshot into an audition. There was a time when black and white was accepted, but now casting directors want to remember what you look like, hair color and all.
But aren't these beautiful...
Included in each headshot gallery, is a digital file resized for a 8 x 10 print complete with your name on the bottom right of the page, which is usually how headshots are printed and presented during an audition.
I use to work with and as a casting director for films at UNC School of the Arts. When choosing between people for the role in question, we lay out the top head shots on a table. The best headshots are the ones that look like the person. They are not over glamorized. They have a subtle background and focus on the eyes of the person. So when we look at their headshot, we remember the impression we received when we saw them perform in person.
If you have an audition coming up, remember to enjoy the process. Do your very best to walk in the door not thinking about the outcome. Think only of this real moment you have, right now, to do what you love, and enjoy it with all of your heart.