I love receiving calls for headshots. The great thing about Halifax is that there are so many fantastic spots to shoot, one often has no wander no farther than outside your back door (in this case, literally) to find a great backdrop. I love how the teal of the wood here brings out the same colour in Ben’s eyes.
It was a bright but overcast day. Perfect for shooting with natural light. The two photos above are a good example of how angle and light can really change an actor’s features. The one on the left is how he naturally carries himself, shot in a typical straight-on and slightly above headshot fashion. In the shot on the right, I had him angle his head a bit differently, and shot from a lower angle. The result is a little more villainous, and creates a different atmosphere in the final product.
Height is important. Typically I go for the above and slightly-down angle, as it’s usually the most flattering, but it’s fun to try out other options as well. If you’re ever shooting someone, never be afraid to ask them to move, or to change your position relative to them to get a better angle. When I’m shooting people who are taller than me (such as Ben), I usually try to get above them, either by standing on a chair, or using the natural landscape to my advantage. Often your subject won’t know exactly which angles suit them (although some actors and models have a good sense from years of practice), and is relying on you to help them. Get comfortable giving friendly directions to your subjects, and I promise it will pay off. Talking also creates a dialogue, which gets your subjects to relax and drop their ‘photo-faces’ (you know, the stock smile they have in every family snapshot). Especially when working with an inexperienced model, directing the shoot often puts them at ease because it takes some of the pressure off of them to come up with different poses.
Luckily, Ben is an experienced actor, so shooting him was a breeze. He is a performer, co-founder and co-director of the Zuppa Theatre Co. in Halifax. Keep an eye out for their new show, ‘Pop-Up Love Party’ which will be premiering March 2015 at the Lion and Bright café on Agricola Street in Halifax. The play heralds themes present in Plato’s Symposium (what is the true nature of love?) in what is promised to be a ‘multi-sensory’ show. (Psst: I hear there’ll be food!)