T E S S S T E I N K O L K
New York City attracts the world's most talented creative artists and ambitious corporate professionals. Your online presence is your calling card and using creative professional headshots and portrait photographs can help convey your own unique personality.
In these image-driven times a great professional headshot/portrait becomes an integral part of your online identity. I have always admired actors and other creative artists and it’s genuinely pleasurable to offer a relaxing and collaborative environment where together we explore who you are and what you wish to convey to the world.
The modern professional portrait is a well made, authentic, and collaborative image that reveals unique and flattering qualities in a beautifully lit environment in studio, outdoors or on location.
Experienced portrait photographers build their careers around delivering to you just that.
CLASSIC HEADSHOTS OR LIFESTYLE PORTRAITS?
The accepted style of modern headshots shifts from time to time. The styles have gone from a full tight headshot for promotion to a chest or waist up photograph and back again. Changed from black & white to color, from vertical to horizonal and back, glamourous studio images to casual outdoor images in natural settings and even candid “action” portraits (lifestyle). Thanks to the internet we are all more visually sophisticated than ever before and we have ideas and artistic preferences of our own to apply to introductory portraits.
For actors the professional headshot is, in a business sense, a marketing tool for casting agents, agents and managers. It is also used for publicity materials and displayed on social media if desired.
The parameters for promotional headshots are prescribed by the industry. The general preference is for a full frontal (to see the symmetry of the face) and with primarily a genuine neutral expression and an accurate and flattering representation. This is so that anyone who is viewing the image for whatever application will get a sense of age, style, ethnicity, etc.
A facial study or neutral expression is not a stiff staring face. The human face and its subtle expressions and rich eye contact offer a wealth of possibilities for variations of many compelling and successful working portraits. A neutral expression is what I call a salutation. It is an introduction generally involves direct eye-contact. Subtle movement and good film direction goes to find a series of images that have a genuine expression that conveys any number of attitudes. Smart, direct, warm and completely engaged is the general goal and getting variations on a good serious headshot and a smiling, warm countenance.
For those in the performing arts it is a flattering professional photograph of you on a good day, in good light and engaged in a general interview. The serious image is used for nighttime episodic, film, dramatic theater, etc. and the smiling image can be used for musical theater, serious theater, romantic film comedy, commercials, etc.
Our approach is to produce a range of images of flattering and compelling headshots and/or lifestyle portraits from which you and/or the industry, agent, manager, consultant may choose to convey your own unique qualities.
LIFESTYLE PORTRAITS: THE ART OF THE EVERYDAY
Your headshot portraits come out of a relaxed and productive session that should be fun, creative and uplifting. We ask that our actors/musicians/artists prepare a “mood” board from images compiled from casual and relaxed cyber surfing.
WHAT IS A “MOOD BOARD?”
These would be images that you believe convey a “look” or pose or type or style that you find current and personal and might also be based on feedback from teachers, agents, etc. These help to refine the expectations in your session. I always get the photos I think are best for my clients and enjoy a collaborative experience if my client is willing.
Lifestyle photography is a genre of photography that mainly aims to capture portraits of people in situations, real-life events or conceptualized set ups in studio or on locations. It is the art of the everyday and are aimed at telling a story about your life or images during an activity. The mood is relaxed, improvisational and authentic.
The goal is basically “branding” you with a style and looking to convey the idea of “you” in natural settings (home, outdoors, sports, performance, or…just hanging out with friends. They used to be called “stock” photos because they would be used in advertising to convey a mood that shows off the “type” of person who would be interested in certain products. Everyday people in flattering, natural poses and candid action. They are “caught” images in life but, for actors, you still need to be recognizable and the usable lifestyle headshot is cropped at least from waist up though the original portrait can be full body and used for other promotional materials.
Within these parameters there are many obvious personal and professional considerations to consider when choosing your representational image.
There is little in the way of “truth” in 1/125th of a second of your life which is how long it takes to make an image. We cannot be all things to all people but we can convey our own unique qualities through personal choices in photography. A photograph used for actor, business or personal media should be an image of a vibrant person. We are multi-faceted, complicated, enigmatic LIVING humans.
That said, we all know a good headshot or portrait when we see it.
Let's create a signature photograph!