Perfect Headshots – Done Your Way

What makes the perfect actor’s headshot?

For every part you want there’s going to be competition. Theatre, films, industrials will usually have lots of actors seeking parts. And that means other actor headshots competing with yours.

So it only makes sense to get an actor headshot that makes you and your look stand out in a compelling way. Even if you’re a character actor, you should look attractive in your own way. With the right photographer, you can do this whatever your look or type. Lighting, camera angle, wardrobe, body language, and expression are some of the main tools at your disposal to create the right mood that will get you chosen.

It’s a process that takes time and effort, but it’s not that mysterious. If you’re an experienced actor, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re not, you should let a skilled, sensitive photographer guide you down the path. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for over 30 years.

What does “done your way” mean?

If you’ve been in the business even a little while, you know that everyone has an opinion and they don’t agree very often.

Should your look be serious and intense or light and friendly? Should the lighting be flat and shadowless or strong and dramatic? How about the presentation and formatting of the image? Should the crop be tight or loose? Horizontal with borders or vertical and borderless?

I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve heard everything. It varies from person to person, it varies over time as fashions change, and it’s not always the same in different cities. LA is usually different from Chicago and NYC. There are some commonalities however that need to be considered.

So unlike many headshot shooters, I have no interest in bullying you or lobbying for a certain point of view. We’ll shoot it your way. So if you, your acting coach, or agent prefer a certain style, that the way we’ll do it. If you bring in a sample of a shot you like, that’s the way we’ll do it.

If you’re a newbie, I’ll guide you through the process and show you some alternatives. It can be a little confusing at first, so I’ll do all I can to clarify and to help.

People bring in all kinds of ideas. I welcome their participation. I’m not wild about all of them. For example, I find some of the current trends in cropping unappealing and usually the brainchild not of an image maker but of an agent striving for novelty.

So what if I don’t care for it? I don’t know everything. You might be right, and it’s your headshot and your career at stake. You’ll find me an enthusiastic collaborator. And the shot will be done your way.

Shooting an Actor Headshot: What’s the most important part of the process?

If you could, it would be great to nab a really awesome acting coach or director of stage or screen and bring her in for your headshot session. But that rarely happens.

So I will be your coach. I’ll be your mirror to show you while we work how you are looking to others. Although I’ve been doing this for most of my career, I never realized it until some clients pointed it out to me. They said they prepared for the shoot by doing a practice shoot with a friend and a cell phone (which is a good idea), but that the results were not as good as mine because they lacked the coaching.

I won’t be going for a single look. Instead I want you to leave with a range of viable choices. Many of those choices will work, so you’ll have to struggle to select the one that is best for you.

It won’t be easy. And for this stage you can get help from your coach, agent, or friends. The way you see your look is important, but the way others see you is even more important.

What if you already know for sure which look you’re going for? No problem. I’ll tone down the coaching and direct it to helping you achieve your goal. We’ll do minor variations around your goal that will give you more choices when you make your selections and define your look.

Based in Downtown Chicago, I also shoot in the city & suburbs.

We hired John to do some professional headshots for our son. John was extremely kind and professional. His attention to detail, lighting, clothing, hair, you name it was impressive. Delivery was on time and better than expected. I would recommend JMP to anyone!
Dawn Loeb

The Perfect Actor Headshot Makes All the Difference

• Actor headshots $179 (25% discount for children & seniors)

• Shoot in studio or outside

• Get your proofs right after the shoot

• No rushing – Shoot as many poses & variations as you like

• Expert guidance every step of the way based on many years of experience

• Same-day service when needed

Make an Appointment or Ask a Question

tel. 312.399.6342


John Manning Photography

Studio: 180 N. LaSalle St., Suite 3700

© 2018 John Manning • All Rights Reserved