I Love Headshots

Larry Peters, Actor

As everyone might know by now, Detroit has been given a business boom with the film industry now in town.  It’s been great for a lot of business owners here in Michigan.  There was a booming business years ago and it’s been quiet up until now.   Actors that haven’t been doing much are now updating their black and white headshots.

If you’re not connected to agencies, casting directors or workshops you need to be optimized to pick up those shoots.  Most  working actors come from referrals.  People just getting or wanting to get into the business surf the web.

My shoot today was with actor Larry Peters referred by Productions Plus-The Talent Shop.  It seems the agencies like the way I shoot the over 40 client.  I like them to look sharp with some pop.  The retouching has to be a bit more precise, versus global to keep the contrast.

I keep forgetting to take behind the scenes pics from my shoots.  I especially don’t seem to think about it with paying clients.  Lately I’ve been asking if they would mind, and in exchange I would give them the image for permission.   So win/win.

A picture is so much easier than trying to explain the set up…so let’s hope I can remember the BTS pics.  Larry is sitting in a chair and I’m standing on a step stool shooting down, I’m only 5’4” so I need the height.

I have two of my custom backgrounds behind him.  One is on the floor and the other hanging low.  I have been taking the hanging backgrounds, twisting and turning them so they have big creases and setting the stands on an angle, versus flat and straight on.  I’m using no lights in this setup, simply north window light, tri flector, black v-flats and black cutter.

f3.2 320 iso200  85 1.2

Some of my images for working actors headshots of Michigan

4 comments category: Backgrounds,Headshots,Photographing models,Retouching

1 Stephanie August 12, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Mary, another fabulous post, thanks for the info and BTS image, much appreciated.


2 Aurora Vanderbosch August 11, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Mary–just wanted to let you know that I have received my lovely new backdrop from you, and couldn’t be more pleased!

I came home Thursday, and it was like Christmas–with not, one, but TWO things relating to your blog waiting for me! Not only was there a big, honkin’ roll that I knew had to contain my new backdrop, but I also had a new LCD, so I could try shooting tethered to it, as you do. (I’ve been toying with the idea of shooting either tethered to a laptop or just outputting shots to a monitor while shooting for a few years, but had found the process clunky and dispiriting, at best–but seeing you using it, and thinking of how helpful it would be in terms of cutting down on the number of shots I take, led to my picking up a REALLY long cable, and a new monitor and extension arm to hang it off of. :))

At any rate, thanks–for running the contest, and for picking me as the lucky winner…and even more so, for your lovely blog, which is always so interesting and inspirational. I’ve LOVED the recent headshot posts, since, as a former professional actress, I do a lot of headshots, myself. My headshots are my way of contributing to the arts–I keep them WAY below market value, to allow actors to actually be able to afford professional looking new headshots every year or so, while they’re temping and getting by at minimum wage jobs…but to do that, I have to keep them studio based, and quick and easy to shoot. You’re giving me lots of ideas on how to continue to do that, while being able to offer a product that looks more contemporary and fresh.

All the best–and thanks again!


3 Mary DuPrie August 11, 2010 at 9:45 am

Hey Matt
I kind of use the word cutter loosely…it is a flag, but when i angle it to gradually cut down light i call it a cutter

if i use it straight up and down i call it a flag…just one of my quirks


4 Matt August 11, 2010 at 12:42 am

Okay, what is the “black cutter”? Is that what looks like a flag at the top of the BTS pic? Thanks for the BTS


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