A Different Type of Graduation
I have had a few really great clients recently. One of my first headshot photoshoots was a client that I have had for years, Vancouver Film School. It has always been a great working relationship; I feel quite connected to the students since I graduated from VFS for Acting in 2007 and I share a common bond with them. Every couple of months I receive a new batch of students. The most recent class had their school immediately shut down just weeks before they were to graduate; the students were right in the middle of finishing their final films. As the story goes, they were on set and a school official dropped in to say, “you all have to stop what you are doing immediately and go home.” This was the beginning of their COVID experience.
Months later, when I was able to reopen Vancouver Film Studios, we were finally able to get this show on the road. For most of the students, this was their first taste of acting in person in months. As good as it is to take acting classes on Zoom, nothing beats the real deal in person. The students did not seem to have any rust at all. They all did a fantastic job.
This first headshot of Aedra shows so much of her personality. She is happy, friendly, smily, and charming. This headshot exemplifies a quality in a headshot that is so important to me: having a sense of relationship with the lens and making me, the viewer, feel like you are looking at me. I feel like I know exactly who she is here and I cannot express enough how important this is to casting directors.
I do not usually shoot with solid grey paper backdrops for actor’s headshots, but Alan is from China, and headshots in Asia have a very different style. Headshot styles are different all over the world, so I do my homework to ensure that I can work with a style that pertains to where the actor will be auditioning. Headshots in Los Angeles are very glam and have that “I am famous” look, in New York they are quite classic “you” photos with a neutral backdrop, in China and South Korea they are “young, fashion, sexy,” and in Germany, they are full on character photos where the actor does not even need to look into the lens! Make sure to tell your photographer where you will be working so he/she/they can give you headshots that make sense for the region you will be working in most.
I quite like this image of Alan, as even though it would not have been my first choice (we got so many good headshots), I know why he picked it. There is this subtle sense of secrecy but is overlapped with a sweet charm and play. This, I think, will be very beneficial to him in the asian film market.
First and foremost, how crazy are Samuel’s eyes? No photoshop done here, just bright blue eyes and good natural light. I would usually be drawn to a more dramatic and sexy shot for a kid as cool and attractive as Sam, but he kept telling me how much he likes to smile for photos, so I figured I would do him a solid on this one. I had a great time working with Sam. He has a future in this business if he wants it.
From Fear to Courage
Another headshot photoshoot that I have had recently was a special one for me; it had personal meaning. Nathan was one of my subjects for my COVID-19 Portrait Project with the message, “I’m Afraid, too. And that’s OK.” To me, this was one of the most powerful messages and images of the entire project. We were all afraid in one way or another, but it’s okay to have those feelings because we were not alone in it. Isolation days oddly feel like eternity away now.
Nathan’s photo was one of eight from the project that got picked up by the National Gallery of Canada’s ‘Canada COVID Portrait’ project and Hello! Canada used his image for an advertising campaign for the project. Side note: when finding links for this blog, I just discovered you can vote for my image in the Hello! Canada link above. How cool!
It was nice to have Nathan come into my studio so soon, as I know money is tight for a lot of actors at the moment. We had a lot to talk about, as only a few weeks after I took his COVID portrait, he was standing tall at the Black Lives Matter movements at Jack Poole Plaza in Vancouver. Nathan, as expected, did a fantastic job during our headshot shoot, showing a depth in his eyes that I had not seen the first time we worked together shooting headshots for him a year ago. He is a strong man, growing, and coming into his own. I think he has a brilliant future ahead.
Yeah, it’s probably a good thing he dropped the beard.
If you are an actor in Vancouver and want new headshots to kick off the reopening of the film industry, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you haven’t already, follow me on Instagram if you wish at @brandonhartphotography and @brandonhartheadshots.