Hee hee, I am just tickled because I knooooow I got some good shots, and I can't wait to see 'em. I used to believe that all I had to do was smile pretty and look serious, alternately. My commercial look was the smiley picture, and my theatrical look was, well, you get it. Now I know better, and I approach a photoshoot like I'm preparing for roles. Everyone can smile or not smile and wear different clothes - my job is to get photos that evoke recognition of the characters that I present. My job is to help my team help me, and to help casting directors to see me as a potential solution to their casting challenge (and then deliver when called, of course).
I had already decided to work with Dennis Kwan again (we did a short-shoot last year when he was shooting headshots for a friend of mine), and knew that I had a 4-look (clothing changes) package. In order to maximize that package, I decided that I needed to get 2 "characters" from each clothing change, one that would work commercially, and one that would work theatrically.
Then I decided what shots I wanted out of this: Commercially - young mom, warm businesswoman, funky fashionista, blue-collar worker. Theatrically - woman-next-door, authority figure, edgy/sexy, urban. My manager has been asking me for "sexy" shots for awhile now, and I haven't done them because I felt that if they were looking for "sexy," they're not going to come looking for me, they're going to go looking for someone who better fits the Hollywood idea of sexy. This time, instead of being resistant, I decided to go with it. My manager has been in this business much longer than I have, and I owe it to her and to myself to at least TRY and get her whatever she feels she needs to better market me, as long as it doesn't violate my principles. I had to define (in pictures) my brand of sexy. What I discovered is that I was short-sighted when I wrote myself off as "not that type." I still don't see myself as being sold as "the sexy vixen" - I had to do sexy with an edge: a little leather, a little attitude... we'll see how those pictures come out, and we can all be the judge.
After deciding what shots I needed out of this, I went through my wardrobe and picked clothing for each of the 4 looks. The looks are about clothing, the characters are about the emotional component. After choosing the clothing, it was time to prepare emotionally. I wrote out descriptions for each character, and worked on them as if they were each a role in a movie. I wrote down some notes for myself and took them with me to the shoot. I knew I would be moving from place to place (we shot in different locations around West L.A.), changing quickly, so I had notes about clothing, but more importantly, I had written down a sentence (my objective) that would allow me to quickly find that character. I felt good about it, it kept me focused, and I was able to succinctly relay my intention to the photographer.
Something else that I think is really important when having photos taken is connecting with the photographer. Yes, it's important that YOU get what YOU need for YOUR business (after all, you are the paying customer), but it's really a collaborative effort, and the two of you should be working together to get you what you need. Hire someone talented that your gut tells you that you can trust, so you don't have to spend your time and energy directing. You can just say "I need this." present the character, and trust the photographer to capture it.
Oooh, I can't wait to see them.
I wore my hair curly, and on top of my head for most of the shots, and then just curly & wild for the last batch. That's how I wear on most days, and on the days when I don't, it will just provide some contrast.
It was fun, and, oh - did I say I'm excited to see them? When I do, I'll post the ones I pick here, and on my website, along with some behind-the-scenes info about how the shot was captured.