On Saturday, Michelle and I ventured through downtown Phoenix to a few of her favorite spots to celebrate the start of her second year in pharmacy school. Though it was hot even in the morning, Michelle was a champion, and we had a great time picking out her favorite murals, pairing her beautiful blue shirt and blue eyes with pink bougainvillea, and drinking delicious cappuccinos at The Grand. Below are some of my favorites from the session.
For this first part of the session, Michelle and I staked out a beautifully shady rest-area in her apartment complex. It had such a peaceful atmosphere, (and it was cooler in the shade!), that we sat and chatted for a bit in between taking photos.
Michelle's apartment is so close to the heart of downtown Phoenix. We walked around Roosevelt Row and enjoyed some of the beautiful murals.
Michelle has the BEST laugh!
We found this beautiful blooming bougainvillea on the sidewalk outside an alehouse, flanked between two patches of ugly brown dirt. But shooting at just the right angle makes Michelle look like she's surrounded by flowers. The pink is a beautiful compliment to both her blue shirt and her subtle lipstick.
Last stop: The Grand. This uniquely decorated coffee shop has an amazing selection of coffee drinks, spirits, and food. It transforms from a place where students are huddled around small round tables with books in the morning and afternoon, to a laid-back place to relax and enjoy drinks with friends at night. Michelle spends a lot of her time studying here, so The Grand is very dear to her heart!
Michelle even brought along some books for the shoot. Her common reads: plays and science textbooks.
Headshots can be tricky. When it comes to professional headshots for actors, it is important to keep industry standards in mind. Black and white headshots were once popular; now, headshots are expected to be in color, portrait (not landscape!) format, and printed as an 8x10.
Backstage Magazine has some fantastic articles about headshots, ranging from advice on how to prepare for your shoot, choosing your photographer, and wardrobe selection.
Please visit my Info page for more information about how to prepare for your headshot session!
Your headshot should look like the best version of yourself. While you should expect retouching on your photos, it shouldn't be so much that the casting director won't recognize you from your headshot when you walk in the casting room!
As a photographer, it is my job to help you look your best! This includes (at the consent of the subject, of course!) taming stray fly-away hairs, adjusting posture, and coaching on smile and facial expression.
I had so much fun shooting Olivia's headshots. An actress who performs frequently in musical theatre, I met Olivia in Alaska, while working at an arts camp. Olivia was one of my campers, and I was so excited when she decided to move from Alaska to Arizona to attend the University of Arizona for college. My friend Jeff and I drove down to Tucson to meet Olivia for her early morning shoot at the Fred Fox School of Music campus.
I loved capturing Olivia's natural beauty on camera. We started off the session with a conversation about her "type." I like to ask my actors how they are usually cast, so I can get a better sense of how casting directors currently view them (whether this is a product of their headshot or not). Olivia has a very bright energy, but she said she was often cast as matronly or in "mother" roles. To capture her desired energy on camera, I asked Olivia what her dream role would be, then told her to envision that she was up for that part, and her headshot would be sliding across the casting director's desk- what would she like to communicate to that casting director through her headshot? In a different scenario, I asked Olivia to choose an adjective- whether it was determined, sexy, confident, etc.- and truly live that word in the photo. The energy comes across and makes for a much dynamic photo.
To capture a more youthful look for Olivia, I used tight framing and focused on the eyes, where you can sense of hit of mischief. She is directly engaged with the camera through her expression, and her slight smile allows the casting director to impart their own impression on the photo.
According to casting director Benton Whitley (of Stewart/Whitley), the eyes are the most important element to any headshot, which is why he never wants to see a full-body photo. But giving a CD an idea of your body type is not frowned upon, either; just keep your face at the forefront (https://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/headshots/8-tips-better-headshots-agent-and-cd/).
Most importantly, headshot sessions should be fun! I love getting to know my clients better during their sessions, and making them laugh to establish a comfortable atmosphere. When my clients are at ease and happy, that shines through in the photos and makes for a great headshot.
At the end of April, I had the pleasure of photographing a senior session for two best friends, Amanda and Sydney. We trekked the Spur Cross Trail in Cave Creek for the nature-inspired shoot. The day was overcast, but the sun occasionally peeked through the clouds, making for some beautiful light. There had been a lot of rain in the previous month, which made for a ton of beautiful green, lush plant life. Their moms were such good sports, and helped the girls carry their heels while we explored the rocky desert. Cave Creek is my hometown, and I am well aware of the wildlife that makes the desert in Spur Cross its own home. We even came across a rattlesnake slithering on the trail. Of course, we quickly rerouted and decided to shoot in another area of the desert. Oh, occupational hazards ;)
Towards the end of the session, the clouds became darker and reflected off of the newly water-replenished creek, making for a fairytale-esq atmosphere. Just a few weeks earlier, the creek had been completely dry!
Hi there! Thanks for stopping by! I'm Bethany Brown, and I am a portrait and headshot photographer based in Phoenix, Arizona. I love bright, classic images, and am always open to collaborations! Check back here frequently for my most recent work.