Backstage: New York Photographer on what makes an effective headshot
It’s all in the eyes! Here in their headshots, actors Rhonda Jensen and Miguel Perez are both open, approachable, warm, and engaging. They emit a spirit, a personality, and a feeling. That’s exactly what you want in a headshot—you want the casting director to feel all that. Because I shoot with natural light and not flash, it’s easy for clients to feel more natural themselves; they are spontaneous and being, not posing. Their eyes are alive. Casting directors and agents like this because not only do the actors look like their headshots, but the CDs and agents get a sense of communication and honesty.
Regarding the background, I always keep it out of focus to help the subjects become more three-dimensional, as if they’re jumping off the page. Regarding the clothing, I prefer that we keep the shot simple by going with mostly solid-colored clothing. That makes the eyes the most important thing in the shot. People feel they almost know these actors just by looking into their eyes. That’s the kind of connection to strive for in a headshot.