My Approach to Actors Headshots & Creative Portraits

Catch the eye with stunning headshots & portraits from one of the UK’s foremost headshot photographers.

There’s a Corona Update here

1. Actors Headshots

We’ll subtly capture you and your casting in striking & headshots & portraits that catch the eye and leave an impression. Or create stunning promotional photos for IMDB and magazines. Whether you’re just starting out or refocusing your career, working in the UK or US, we’ll get the shots to equal your ambition.

Here’s some in-depth detail about how I work. Drop an email to michaelwharley@michaelwharley.com with any questions.

You

I treat you as an individual, learning how you’ve been cast, the roles you’d like & what your agent wants, carefully considering your skin tone, facial structure & hair/eye colour, as well as less tangible things like your emotional qualities and ambitions.

Your Prep is Vital

I send a welcome pack to help you prepare clothing, makeup and hair ideas, and prepare a short brief for me. You might find my ‘8 Prep Steps for Better Headshots‘ preparation video helpful and more broadly, there’s lots of advice as part of my ‘Take Control of Your Headshots‘ webseries.

Oh, God! Posing

I direct you throughout the session, and use simple posing language and techniques that will help you ‘perform’, while looking perfectly natural. Early on during the shoot we review a batch of shots so together we can calibrate your subtle performance for stills, then review on the camera as we shoot on to keep you on track. Check out my ‘How to Pose for Actors Headshots: 9 Pro Tips‘ video

Shooting Varied 'Looks'

I don’t have one look that I repeat. I choose and shoot 2-3 setups that work for you: your physical attributes like skintone, facial structure and hair type; your emotional qualities like warmth, strength, or nobility; your casting or career ambitions, like the work you’ve had or want, the way you want to be seen. LEARN MORE

What's a 'Look'?

We’ll shoot 2-3 looks. Think of a ‘look’ as a carefully composed scene with lighting, backdrop, atmosphere and objective. I help you make the right choices of top. I help you to act for camera by directing you to achieve subtly variety of mood and expression. A classic ‘look’ might start classic but warm up. We might do a quick top change or parting flick to vary the feel. But we focus together. Then we strike the setup and make another set of choices. This process creates contrasting striking portraits that capture you and subtly hint at your casting types. LEARN MORE.

My Expertise

The APHPA qualified Fellow (the highest level of qualification) of the British Institute of Professional Photography and a full member of the A.O.POf course you can rely on my industry and photographic expertise: The Stage calls me a “Top Theatre Photographer” and I’m a founder-member and former Chairman of the APHP. I’ve also earned a reputation as a neutral expert in the field, surveying casting directors, writing for industry news outlets, leading headshot seminars for Drama Schools & creating a widely viewed youtube Headshot advice series ‘Take Control of Your Headshots‘ .

Sounds serious?

Bring your playlist, please! I am serious about your shoot, but that doesn’t mean it’s a laugh-free zone. My sessions are relaxed – even fun – with music, tea and chat (or a fag/vape, if that’s what you need), so you eel and look at ease in front of camera.

The Session & Booking

Based on own my 6 years (and five headshot sessions!) as an actor, and decade shooting with lovely clients, I’ve created a session that satisfies seasoned professionals, students at drama school, those refreshing a portfolio, or creating a whole new set of shots. You can check it out at the link.

What we do and don't do...

We want to shoot you. Not a 12-strong look-book of character types. Not 35 tops in quick succession. The focus then becomes about the surface, not your presence in the moment. You end up with hundreds of shots where the clothes and hair change, but you barely do. In my experience, 3 contrasting ‘looks’, with each shot making a striking statement about you & your casting adds up to a powerful portfolio.

Testimonials

Read nice things clients have said about my actors headshots work – I’ve got more happy Mandy.com testimonials than any other photographer.

Got more questions?

Here’s my FAQ, my full Headshot Terms are here, and If you’ve got any questions, just get in touch.

2. Creative Portraits

Whether you are a designer, musician, singer, comedian or writer, together we’ll make standout creative portraits that will make people want to work with you. The highest quality branding images for LinkedIn, websites, social media and personal promotion.

Do drop an email to michaelwharley@michaelwharley.com with questions.

You and your creativity

I treat you as an individual, learning about the way you want to project your creativity visually

Your Prep

I send a welcome pack to help you prepare clothing, makeup and hair ideas, and ask you to create a moodboard of images you like, so we can get on the same page visually and really make bold choices in the shoot.

Style & Clothing

Clothing and style are hugely important in putting across your creative values visually so go to town on begging, borrowing, stealing (or buying!) top quality, characterful pieces to layer, mix and match and blend. Contrasting textures, styles, vibes and colours will help us tell stories for you.

Oh, God! Posing

No-one sensible likes being on camera, but we’ll make it fun, I promise! You’ll be posing like Kate Moss before you know it.

Shooting Creatively

We will make bold choices so you have portfolio of contrasting images with different feels and styles, in headshot, full and 3/4 length crops.

My Expertise

I have been a photographer for 10 years and am I qualified Fellow (the highest level of qualification) of the British Institute of Professional Photography and a full member of the A.O.P I also shoot advertising imagery for film, TV & theatre and my work is seen on billboards, ad campaigns and in magazines across the world.

The Session & Booking

Based on 10 years of work as an photographer, I’ve created two alternate creative portrait sessions to satisfy different needs; those who want to explore some creative ideas in depth, and those who want a striking set of portraits in a more compact session. You can check out which is right for you  at the link.

Got more questions?

Here’s my FAQ, my full Headshot Terms are here, and If you’ve got any questions, just get in touch.