Prior to being a manager and a talent agent at Burn Down Entertainment, Wright assisted many high profile managers, agents, and publicists. For 20 years she was a recording artist, actor, and music producer, and is now the author of five books called, “Secrets of a Hollywood Talent Manager.” Wright teaches the business of acting all over the country and is on the faculty of schools including the New York Studio for Stage and Screen in North Carolina and LA Acting Academy in Phoenix, Arizona. For years she has appeared in numerous magazines, and on radio shows and talk shows including “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
Every Talent Agency has a list of reputable photographers they recommend to their clients. As a Manager I get tons of them so I will share a few of them with you. It is important to remember a couple of things. Every photographer works in their own way. They have their own style of shooting, favorite locations, lighting and backgrounds. What works for one actor with a photographer may not work for you. So interview several photographers until you find one you feel comfortable with. You need to be comfortable with the photographer so you can be relaxed during the session, be yourself and get great images.
Make sure you get the whole session on a DISK if that is important to you. You have to ask each photographer if they do that because some photographers do not. They will take 300 pictures and only give you 3 8x10's asking you to buy additional shots. I hate that. If I pay $375 for 3 looks and a photographer takes 300 shots, I want all 300 of them on a disk so I can use them anytime I want for multiple reasons: websites, marketing, pr, online casting profiles etc. I also want to be able to try others from the session if the ones I am using are not working. Most photographers will give you a disk or link to a website with your images, but ask, don't assume. The picture I am using for my blog was taken by one of my favorite photographers; Marc Cartwright, Alex Kruk, Thihanyi, Kenneth Dolin and Olesja Mueller Austrakas. My 5 favorites. Their images are amazing! Check out their websites and see which one you like best!
The second thing to remember is that headshots are not supposed to be "pretty" pictures. They are supposed to be shots of you that show Casting Directors your type and the type of roles they can cast you for. If you are the shy, quiet type your pictures should reflect that. If you are the outgoing, happy type your pictures should reflect that. If you are the angry or sarcastic type your pictures should reflect that too. And your pictures should look like you. No Casting Director wants to see a picture they like for a role, call you in to audition you and see someone who looks nothing like the photo walk in the door. That is a sure way to piss off a Casting Director and keep them from calling you in the future. This is avoidable so don't do it.
Lastly, because most Casting Directors use online casting systems today, they only see a thumbnail of your picture. It has to "pop" or get their attention right off the bat. CD's use a numbering system. The numbers 1-5 are under every picture. If they really want to see you they type a #1 under your picture. If they maybe want to see you they type a #3. If they don't want to see you they type #5. Then they tell the computer to schedule all the ones at 5 minutes intervals so they can get actors in and out for auditions. Your picture has about 2 seconds to "pop."
If the pictures you start out using are not getting you called in for auditions, your photos may not be "popping" or standing out from the others they are looking at so get rid of them and try new ones. Don't be married to them. I know they are expensive, but headshots are really disposable and only useful if they are getting you auditions. If you are stubborn about this, you will miss a lot of opportunities. So go shoot again, try different photographers until you get pictures that "pop." Don't go for the cheapest you can find because you get what you pay for. Most good photographers charge $250-$450 per session and kids are less. Expect to pay this and avoid cheap deals. It will likely be a waste of your money and you will end up paying the higher rates anyway. Note: If you change your look by cutting or dying you hair you will need new pictures.
WAW ENTERTAINMENT TALENT MANAGEMENT RECOMMENDS
www.alexkruk.com (760) 216-8619
www.marccartwright.com Marc Cartwright (323) 878-2603
www.flygirlphoto.com 818.707.1255 Debbie Patton email@example.com
www.cathrynfarnsworthheadshots.com (310) 866-0268
www.kennethdolin.com (213) 415-1838
I love these photographers. They ALL get me shots that get my actors auditions.
Here are the recommendations of a few of the reputable Talent Agencies that I work with;
HOWARD TALENT WEST TALENT AGENCY RECOMMENDS
www.kruschkephoto.com (818) 556-6528 - $275.00
www.davidsobel.com (310) 308-5957 - $150.00 kids
www.rackedfocus.com (310) 428-1724- $175.00 kids
www.guyviauheadshots.com (310) 202-1257- $255.00 (1-3 looks)
www.marccartwright.com (323) 878-2603- $370.00 (3 looks) + 3 retouches
www.kennethdolan.com (310) 276-9937- $375.00 (3 Looks)
www.zoelogan.com (310) 729-9058- $300.00 (3 Looks)
www.kelisquirestaylor.biz (323) 938-7729 $350.00 includes hair/makeup
www.failsafephotography.com (310) 595-5906 $250.00 (3 looks) & kids
www.lindavanoff.com 310) 550-8430 $200.00 (3 looks) & kids
www.michaelhiller.com (323) 960-5111 $250 (3-4 looks)
www.jbcimages.com (310)259-2363 $175.00 (3 looks)
www.gibsonphotopro.com (323) 662-8884 $150-250.00 (4 looks)
www.akeiganphoto.com (424) 248-5749 $300 (3 looks)
SOVEREIGN TALENT AGENCY RECOMMENDS
www.chuckwillisphotography.com (917) 520-3787
www.jorycordy.com (301) 801-9070
www.lindavanoff.com (310) 279-3133
www.cathrynfarnsworthheadshots.com (818) 481-5551
www.raychristianphotography.com (805) 612-2586
www.travistanner.com (323) 252-9633
KAZARIAN SPENCER RUSKIN AGENCY RECOMMENDS
jeromeduchange.com (786) 554- 2491
kelseyedwards.com (323) 936-6106
robinganterphotography.com (310) 490-3227
michaelhelms.com (818) 353-5855
kenzikayphotography.com (818) 216-0543
anitalobsenz.com (310) 963-1061
medbyphoto.com (714) 325-9112
davidmullerphotography.com (818) 640-8173
mariarangephotography.com (323) 243-5500
talisongroth.com (323) 898-9681
michaelroud.com (808) 344-5336
lindavanoff.com (310) 550-8430
shelliwright.free.fr (323) 962-7683
Well that should get you started. Read my other blogs for really helpful insider information. Good luck and happy shooting!
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Every few months I offer a workshop called, “The Winner's Circle" for brand new actors which will help you begin to understand the business and start to develop a plan of action for your success. I teach it along with several important industry friends of mine including a top Theatrical Agent, Commercial Agent, Casting Director, Headshot Photographer, Working Actor and including Reel Producer. You will learn so much information in this workshop from top people in the business who are all committed to your success!
I have been coaching actors for years, and I know new actors need a mentor and professional guidance, so if you are new to this business I highly recommend this workshop. It will give you the "inside" information you need and it will put you miles ahead of the hundreds of other newcomers that arrive in L.A. every year. At the end of this 4-hour seminar with us you will have a game plan for success. The cost is $179 and it's worth every penny. If you register in the first 7 days after the workshop is announced the price is only $99. Visit my email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
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Wendy Alane Wright Smith