Thursday, February 28, 2013

Amazing Photo Shoot Experience

Extremely specific, but as I am W. African good to have in my arsenal

I don't discuss much about my the acting side of my life much, but just thought I would share as this might be helpful to fellow artists here in Los Angeles, and some pointers in how to get great professional photos.  For those outside of the entertainment field a headshot is a must for an actor that along with a reel (short 1-2 min video sample of our work) is our calling card and how we get auditions, agents, managers and all that good stuff. You need to keep both these things current. My hair has changed significantly and also I needed some photographs that would be more commercial and also more diversity in my theatrical catalog.  I had the fortune of working with Brian Parillo ( an amazing photographer and talented makeup artist Denise Romero. The results were amazing photos that pleased both myself and my manager.  So here are my tips on how you can ensure your photos come out fantastic:

1. Know what looks you need and be specific. I know as actors we feel we can do everything but the reality is casting directors and producers has very little time for that, especially when it comes to film and television. Do you need theatrical photos (photos for film and television)? If so what type of roles would you get cast as, be specific!!! Casting directors see hundreds of photos the ones that always stand out are the ones that are specific to the roles, THIS DOES NOT MEAN DRESS IN COSTUME! If you go out for roles as detectives, lawyer, corporate, doctor have a sense of what look you'll need to convey for those roles. For commercial photos are you the soccer mom selling detergent or the athletic type selling Gatorade? Do you need to have a body shot? The more specific you are the better results you will get. Figure this out before you even think of taking your photos.

2. Research your photographer! Find several photographers who specialize in taking headshots, look at their website and when you've found three you like try and meet with them for an interview. If they are not willing to meet with you and discuss what you need, how many looks you'll need, what your agent or manager requires WALK AWAY! You also have to see how you vibe with the person, because your session is very much a collaborative effort.

3. I highly suggest finding a good makeup artist. You might think you can do your own makeup but unless you have experience doing makeup for photographs invest in a makeup artist. Usually the photographer you choose will know of one or ask your fellow actor, model, singer, dancer etc., Whoever you choose make sure they have experience doing makeup for headshots and if you are a person of color that they they have experience working with that too.

4. Meet with the makeup artist prior to the shoot (at least a day or two before) so they can do a test run and make sure both of you are on the same page.

5. Come prepared! Bring more clothes than you think you will need so that the photographer has options. Trust me on this one, you can't bring too much. The photographer, your agent or manager will guide you on the looks and colors you should aim for and bring as many options as you possibly can. To give you an idea I brought a suitcase full of clothes and two bags of accessories.

6. Get a good night's rest!!!! Cameras capture everything, even with great makeup and lighting, and also you don't want to have to rely on retouching to hide a crazy night out, because it'll look too retouched and that can get expensive.

Here are just a few samples from my shoot:

This would be more theatrical shot
commercial shot
commercial body shot
Hope this helps and to view more of Brian's work go to:

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