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Devin Nelson, returning client | Central Park West

A headshot is one of the most important tools you have as a professional actor. I spent over six years helping actors while working at a busy bi-coastal talent agency. Far too often, talented actors missed out on the critical audition opportunities that they deserved because of a poor headshot. A headshot is your calling card and what agents and casting directors see first. A strong headshot will help you get your foot in the door.

When I was a young actor, my first photographer rushed me through our shoot. When I started shooting, I decided to never schedule more than one actor a day.

Your shoot begins with us talking about what you want to achieve with your new headshots and where you are in your career. We'll go through my portfolio and I'll ask about what you were drawn to in my work (locations, mood, and lighting). Different locations and clothing options fit different roles and I'll help navigate you to what will work best for your goals.

Often, actors are using headshots that misrepresent the roles they're targeting, what they look like, or both. There's a troubling trend toward over-glamorized and over-retouched headshots as fashion photographers push into our industry. Casting directors have grown frustrated as actors walk into auditions looking nothing like the photo that was submitted. You should look great in your headshot, but it must look like you.

When looking through my portfolio, you'll notice a diverse variety of techniques. You and your headshot should never be boxed into a trademark style of a photographer. You're unique as an actor, and your headshot should reflect that. All of my shoots last at least two hours, so we can play with a variety of looks and moods. I love studio and on-location shooting (as long as New York City weather permits it). Check out the examples below of clients accomplishing different looks at their shoot.


One actor,
different looks -
<
>
A dramatic shot (left) and commercial shot (right).

I've spent a lot of time thinking about how to make your headshot experience as simple and stress-free as possible. If you're like most actors, you spend your days surrounded by the madness of Midtown Manhattan. I was based in that area for a number of years, but decided to relocate to the Upper West Side, less than a block from Central Park. Working in this area is so much more relaxing for my clients. This neighborhood runs at a slower pace than the rest of the city and it helps break my clients out of the manic pace of the typical day-in-the-life of an actor.

Instead of working out of a vast stark studio, I've integrated all of my gear inconspicuously into my park-side apartment. I'm always surprised how little things here start a conversation - a book on the shelf, my collection of photographs, the wall of thank you cards, my nerdy collection of old video game systems.

"The atmosphere was very relaxed, very friendly. Chris made you feel like you had known him for years. Everyone seems to agree that my photo is a good reflection of not only what I look like, but who I am."
-Dolan Byrnes from the Backstage article "Picture Yourself Working: Getting the Headshot That's Right for You"

As we shoot, I'll show you previews of the images and we can make adjustments as needed. Most people have little habits that I'll help undo (forehead tension, shoulder tension, mouth tension, not breathing). My shoots are somewhere between an acting class and a yoga class. I'll pick on you a little bit, but you'll thank me later.

Ultimately, I want you to feel unintimidated and like you're hanging out with a friend. Bring along your favorite playlist (no judgments, I promise) and we'll listen to your music. Most actors stress over photo shoots, so I do my best to take your mind off it.

I take what I do seriously, but I don't take myself too seriously. More than once, my client has (affectionately) told me, "You're such a dork", as they laugh at my bad jokes. One time, I was shooting a client in Central Park at the baseball fields. I said, "See the lengths I go to for a good headshot? I risk being hit by a baseball for your headshot." Less than a minute later, I got hit in the back of the head by a stray foul ball. Yes, I survived, and the photos were some of the best in my portfolio. True story.

"Chris is calm, caring, and creative. I consider those 3 C's to count for a whole lot in a headshot photographer!"
- Jenn Gambatese (Broadway's School of Rock, Tarzan, All Shook Up, Hairspray)

After a shoot, everyone leaves excited to start narrowing down their top choices. Many photographers take days or weeks to get your images back to you. With me, you see them on the night of your shoot.

I built my online gallery system myself from the ground up. You'll be able to download all of your high-resolutions images, invite your friends to view and "like" their favorite images, and order the images you want retouched. I'll even pick out my favorite headshots to help you narrow them down.

All shoots also include two images that I personally retouch. Whenever I show my retouching samples, everyone always comments, "That's amazing, can you retouch me like that in real life?" All of my retouching work is natural, keeping in mind that you should look like yourself. As soon as I'm finished retouching, you'll be able to download your high-resolution images from my website.



Writing and mailing a thank you card means a lot. My clients are so awesome that I still find these pleasant little surprises in my mailbox. Check 'em out.



What each shoot includes
  • Two hours of shooting
    Your choice of indoor shooting and/or outdoor shooting (weather permitting). There's no limit on looks, but it's best to narrow it down to no more than five.
  • A high-resolution online gallery, ready the same day
    On the night of your shoot, you will get password protected access to all of your high-resolution images. Social network features are built in to make sharing and choosing easy.
  • Two high-resolution retouched images
    I personally retouch two high-resolution images. After I've retouched your images, they'll be uploaded to your online gallery for easy downloading and sharing. Additional retouched images are available through me for $35 each, or you can use local headshot labs (I recommend Reproductions and Colorworks).
  • Photographer selected favorites
    I want to make choosing the best images from your shoot easy. I'll go through all of our images and mark my favorites.
  • Online backup of all of your headshots for two years
    Your online gallery will remain online for at least two years, making downloading and backing up of your images simple. You can save individual images or download an entire shoot as a zip file.



Pricing information
For a limited time, shoots are discounted by $100.
$695,
$595 for a limited time.
Additional available discounts:
$100 off for full-time students (six month graduation grace period).
$100 off if you book with a friend (two people book separate shoot days).
$150 off if you're a student *and* you book with a friend (separate shoots).
$200 off for returning clients (not combinable with other discounts).




Hair and makeup artist add-ons
Prices are in addition to the shoot fee.
Women: $195
I know it appears that everyone's naturally perfect in my portfolio, but there's a lot of activity going on behind-the-scenes to make everything look as good as it does (maintaining hair, fixing makeup, etc.). Because of this, the hair and makeup artist is required and will stay with us during the shoot to ensure the best results.
Men: $95 or $145    [these options are for men only]
Generally, for men, if you have good skin and simple hair, a hair and makeup artist is not necessary. If you'd like to have a makeup artist, it's either $95 for them to come in before your shoot and then leave for the shoot, or, for those wanting to shave half-way through, it's $145 for them to stay for half of the shoot.




Scheduling a shoot
My calendar is available online to make scheduling a shoot easy. Enter your information below to continue. Just have a question? You can check out my FAQ page or contact me.

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