Posts Tagged ‘professional photography’

The casting process

Since I started working with models in ~2003 I’ve used a number of methods and sites to look for new talent. I’ve used sites like OneModelPlace, Modelmayhem, LACasting, Craigslist and even Instagram. Each time I post a casting there is alway someone that stands out because of how wrong they are for the submission. As the casting process progresses I see more faux pas; and I see them over and over. So if you are a model or an actor this is to help you in the casting process.

1. Read the casting. This seems so simple it’s stupid. I know that booking acting and modeling jobs is often based on the law of averages. The more times you submit, the more auditions you get, the more castings you respond to the more likely a job will materialize.  This is true, but if the casting is for a brunette that’s between 5’8″ and 5’11 and you don’t fit in the category then don’t submit. Yes I know you are 5’8″ in heels and that for the right amount of money you would be glad to dye your hair but what your submission says to me is I DIDN’T READ THE CASTING.

2. Don’t lie.  A production designer recently recounted story of how an actor lied and it backfired. The role was a window washer to be sitting on a window-washing scaffold 40 feet in the air eating a burger. It was a national commercial so naturally the actor lied about his ability and comfort level being high in the air on a scaffold that was moving and shaking. As the scaffold with the talent, cinematographer and camera assist began to rise, the actor freaked at about 12 feet and couldn’t get past his fear. Thanks for playing please fill out your time card and go home. In addition to wasting people’s time he cost the production company thousands of dollars in wasted production costs. Time IS money.

3. Act professionally. Another suggestion that seems to without saying.  I encounter this so frequently that it makes me want to scream. A lot of actors and models don’t consider themselves a business or a product. But you are. You are a business and should conduct yourself professionally. And just like your desk-jockey friends that act professional when they send cover letters with their resumes, come prepared to job interviews and  communicate in a professional way with prospective employers you should do the same.

  • Make sure your email reply information is correct and accurate.  If your email is SuperProModel@aol.com and your name information is not included with your email how will I know who you are.
  • Be professional when talking on the phone and sending emails.  At this point I’m not your friend nor are we friendly yet. So treat me with the same professional respect you would when you apply for any other job.
  • Come prepared. Clothes pressed, makeup ready, lines memorized, portfolio in hand. A few weeks ago a model showed up 30 minutes early, had all her wardrobe balled up in a bag, then asked to do her makeup and hair in the studio. Instructions were to come hair and makeup ready with her clothes pressed.
4. Invest in your business. You would be shocked at the level of photos some actors and models use. In the casting process I have seen thousands of horrible images that should not be used in a professional manner. In Los Angeles professional photography is  accessible and generally affordable because there are so many of us. Spending the same amount of money you would make in a day’s work is a fair investmenet that will pay off in the long run. Want better photography and more options invest more money. Hire a makeup artist or hair stylist. Buy a new outfit. Hire the photographer you want based on their work not their price.

5
 . Use your photos wisely.  On the main website I use for castings my view is 24 thumbnail images per a page. Each person’s photo is about 1.5″ wide x 2″ tall.  At that size Grace’s head is 1/3 of an inch in the dance photo.  Make sure that main image is great. If you don’t look amazing I won’t even bother to look at other images. I know that it costs more money to host additional images on LACasting and other similar sites, but if your job depends on a photo don’t you think it’s a good investment to have multiple images?  (see #4) 

    

  • Use the size and space wisely.
  • Use only professional photos
  • Pay for and use multiple photos in your portfolio/site

6. The Internet is forever. Another great feature on the large casting sites is my ability to make notes that stick with your profile.  I noticed that a handful of models would submit to every casting I posted but then when I responded or asked for more information they wouldn’t respond. Eventually I started noting who those models were and ignored them on future castings. When you don’t follow the above mentioned suggestions we remember.

It’s simple, if you are an actor, model or any related freelance creative you are a business, now go act like one.

 

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Why you should hire me to shoot your ________

I recently lost a job based on price. I had already provided the “bro hookup” discount since the client was friends with my wife. The client was able to find a photographer willing to provide more for less. Does it make sense to lose a sizable job over an additional 20% discount? (in this case yes) What’s that “bird in the hand” saying?

The experience got me thinking about why you should hire me. My first inclination was to say that great photography is the reason to hire me but that’s not enough and that’s not even the main reason.

Hire me to shoot your wedding, children, engagement session, portrait, head shot, your home, your new design, _______(fill in the blank) because:

Heidi

Heidi Heaslet Fashion Shoot

1. Because you like me as a person and you want to do business with me.  For most photography projects I spend a fair amount of time with my clients. It could be intimate situations like an expectant mother’s first maternity photo shoot, visiting the home of new parents to take pictures of their newborn, spending a couple days shooting a project for an interior designer or spending a day with a bride, groom and their closest friends and family. I could be the best photographer in the world, but if you don’t like me, don’t want me around or don’t trust me, the quality of my work doesn’t matter.

2. Hire me because you believe in, and trust in, my ability as a photographer. I’m not a “wedding photographer”. I’m not a “family portrait photographer”. I’m not an “architectural photographer”. I’m a photographer that happens to shoot all of the previous mentioned types of photography. There’s enough of my work online for people to get an accurate view of the quality of my work, my ability to think on my feet and the quality of the finished product I deliver to my clients.

Pacific Palisades infinity pool for Knight Landscaping and Design

Pacific Palisades infinity pool for Knight Landscaping and Design

Want to know how I picked my wedding photographer? I looked through a box a proofs. While sifting through hundreds of proofs from my friend Josh’s wedding the main thing that stood out with Selima was consistency. The great majority of the images were solid, and as a whole they were great. I encourage and often show my potential wedding clients the proofs from the weddings I have shot and tell them this is what you can expect. I’ve heard so many stories from friends and clients who were duped into hiring a photographer based on the 20 images they saw on a website.

3. Hire me because you want something different. Hire me to shoot your wedding because of my fashion work. Hire me to shoot your architectural work because of the unique images I shot of your neighbors kids. Hire me because you know that whatever circumstances I am put in I can get the shot.

Norah Portrait Shoot

Norah Portrait Shoot

I’m not sure where money and cost factor in. It’s an important factor but not the most important. I made a decision early on not to compete on price. If you want to price shop photography there are a ton of photographer’s who will compete on price. Creativity and art are subjective. The cost and perceived value is up to you.

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Why I flew to San Jose to shoot family portraits

A few weeks ago Katie emailed asking about shooting some new family portraits. (Katie and her family live in San Jose) I’ve had the pleasure of photographing her family five times over the past three years. Usually the shoot coincides with a visit to the area. Since I didn’t have any near-term plans to fly to the bay area she decided it was worth the extra cost of a plane ticket to have me come up. It feels good when your clients speak about your work with actions like that.

We started off with the twins while big brother Connor finished his nap. And for the record, the twins decided to hold each other’s hand.

Colin & Logan

Colin & Logan

Then we swapped. Twins went down for a nap while Connor and I went to have some fun.

Connor

Connor

Connor

Connor

Next Aunt Mable (her real name is Annie) and Charles came by. Charles was a little hesitant, because like most of us, we don’t like to have our photo taken. For one of their first poses they came across really stoic. Seeing that pose made me think of the painting “American Gothic” and with the help of a few props we made an attempt.  The use of props and humor helped liven things up a bit.

An attempt at humor using the painting American Gothic as inpiration

An attempt at humor using the painting American Gothic as inpiration

San Jose Rose Garden

San Jose Rose Garden

After our session at the house we headed to the San Jose Rose Garden to meet the extended family. It never fails. Whenever I try to get a shot of the grandparents and their grand kids there’s always a meltdown.

Murphy's law.

Murphy's law.

More extended family and great moments.

Callie and Carin

Callie and Carin

Lucas

Lucas

Tim and Callie

Tim and Callie

Julie and Annie

Julie and Annie

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Holiday Cards and Gifts

Every year I have friends and clients ask me about holiday cards. My main lab offers decent options but has failed to add new designs leaving the cards I offered last year a bit dated and over-used. This year I am happy to offer my customers several options for great holiday cards.

The first option is my partnership with www.Broadcastingbaby.com. We have teamed up to offer our clients great photography and an incredible selection of customized cards. Mention my name and you will receive 20% off your holiday card order.

This year I have also arranged to offer my clients holiday cards designed by an incredible graphic artist. These cards can be viewed in the products section of the cart feature of my website. Chuck Espinoza Photography Products. The following is a handful of the flat card designs.

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Lastly Tiny Prints has finally begun to offer a special collection of cards exclusively for professional photographers.


There are also some great options in the product section to consider as gifts for the holidays. Wouldn’t grandma love a hard cover coffee table book? Don’t want to send another photo in a frame? Send a canvas wrap ready to mount on the wall.

Don’t have the perfect photo for your holiday cards? Call me to set up a portrait shoot. 310.922.5094


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