As we learned in last week’s podcast, your branding really starts with the photos you have. So how do you make sure you’re capturing the right look, working with the right photographer to capture that look, and bringing more to the table than just a pretty smile? Kristia Knowles, professional model and photographer has some great tips and tricks to share with anyone looking to get great shots.
DIY branding tips for any artist looking to get great headshots. Click To Tweet
About Kristia Knowles:
Kristia had a camera all through school but never got the film developed. She graduated in organic chemistry and physical therapy, with modeling and acting on the side. Once she had a daughter, she picked up her camera again and never looked back. She now lives in Daytona Beach, FL, providing photography services for actors, models, musicians, weddings, fashion magazines, and anything else that comes her way.
What To Bring to a Headshot Session
Kristia likes to reference old headshots or photographs to see how you react to the camera and what he worked (or hasn’t worked) for you in the past.
- Kristia likes to ask questions (and we’ll reference her acting clients here) such as:
What are the roles you go out for?
What do other actors see you as?
Are you lead or a comedic side actor?
- Wardrobe: Some talent agents have outfits planned out and thats ok. Have some strategic outfits but offer some more options or accessories on the side. It’s ok to “bring the closet” but a few planned outfits with options is better. Check out Kristia’s Pinterest boards for great style ideas.
- Makeup? Keep it organic. A good photographer can touch you up without it being noticeable but it’s harder to take away too much makeup in the photos. (Touchups, by the way, should only fix the little blemishes, not reshape you into a new person. Your face is your brand. Own it and love it.
How to Pick a Photographer
- Talk to them on the phone first to get a good vibe of who they are and if they seem invested in helping you. Also, look at their website to make sure they have shots that speak to you and your brand.
It’s psychological: most people do not like to be photographed. A good photographer will help you feel comfortable in your session but you need to be yourself first. As a mode, Kristia always felt better with photographers who were invested in the session.
Dream vs Nightmare
- The perfect headshot client is: open to taking direction, they are approachable, and they are honest on and off camera
- The nightmare headshot client is: insecure and uses their ego to cover it up. Many artists can put up mini walls. Knowing what you want and how the world sees you will allow you to drop this wall for the session.
Tips for a Good Headshot Session
Work ahead of time to find a list of emotional triggers that help you capture your look. Pretend you’re on the cover of GQ magazine and you are showing yourself to the world for the first time. Do you want to highlight confidence? Ruggedness? Etc…
It’s hard to hold a position for a long time. Find that moment like in a script where you step out and then pick it up again. Use the ground to reset your vision. Look away, then back. Think about that moment before you go into action. You get multiple takes so you don’t have to worry about nailing it each time.
Kristia uses a technique called “Finding the river,” which is staring off slightly into the distance for lifestyle shots. For a headshot, pretend the face has been cut out of a $100 bill. Now look at the camera, chin slightly down, slight profile, and find that emotional trigger.
- It’s important to know how you see the world vs how the world sees you. Ask others, trust those who are trying to help, and still be true to you.
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(but you don't have to do this alone)
Occasional resources, tips, and tools for the independent recording artist so you never miss a beat.