Friday, November 6, 2009

2nd Headshot Shoot. Ever.

, originally uploaded by Rachel McCauley.
I had the pleasure of shooting a local actor here in LA by the name of Mark Allen.  This was my second time shooting headshots so I felt a bit more comfortable from the first time.  I noticed I was hitting the controls on my camera more intuitively and fluidly.  It was a great feeling.  The relationship between a photographer and his/her camera is special and it's something I strive to master.  Be one with the camera and all that Zen.    

Speaking of Zen, I once read a book called The Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel which was recommended on the Camera Position podcast that I listen to by a teacher/photographer by the name of Jeff Curto.  Basically, it discusses the philosophy behind the art of practicing archery for many years and eventually becoming able to master the skill by losing the conscious mind or something to that effect.  It's been awhile since I read it but a photographer is to read it and replace the references to archery with photography.  I don't know how much I got out of the book but  I do recommend Jeff Curto's podcast.  He has turned me on to many photographers that I admire to this day.    
Anyway, on the day we shot it was beautiful outside.  We met up at a local bar that has many different colored walls along the block.  The plan was to shoot him with goatee, eat lunch and then shoot sans goatee.  We started out a bit rough.  Being the subject of a photo shoot is not easy.  Some people can relax in front of a camera more quickly than others.  Under the direction of his girlfriend Jennifer Damon, who has had experience in doing headshots, she managed to help him relax and get the looks he needed.    
I learned that I definitely need to know how to direct actors/models.  I think this is one of my major weaknesses.   I come from a sort of more natural photography.  I do not like to tell people how to act or pose because I want to capture them in the moment as they are.  Well, if I ever want to get in to headshot photography I will have to change this approach.  So far, she has taught me some great techniques and I hope to use them on my next shoot.  
We also started out a bit rough because this was the first time we used a reflector.  I bought a reflector and it took my lovely assistant, Trevor, and I bit to get the technique down.  I didn't realize just how much light can come off those suckers.  I am pretty sure we blinded poor Mark a few times.  We figured out a technique where Trev would listen to the sound of the shutter and swivel it back and forth every other shot so we wouldn't be constantly blinding Mark and cause him to squint.  Plus, I wanted to take a few shots with different types of lighting so it really worked out well in the end.    
Thanks Mark for choosing me as a photographer!  Hope you get some great gigs soon.  

Here is a slideshow of more from that day.

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