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Devin Nelson, returning client | Central Park West

A headshot is one of the most valuable tools you have as a professional actor. Before photography became my full-time career, I spent several years working at two New York talent agencies. While there, my work evolved as I learned the importance of telling a story with a photograph rather than just taking pretty photos. Far too often, talented actors miss out on the critical opportunities that they deserve 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 you arrive, we'll put on your favorite music and chat about what you want to achieve with your new headshots. We'll go through my portfolio and I'll ask about what you were drawn to (locations, mood, lighting, etc.). Often, actors are using headshots that misrepresent the roles they're appropriate for. There's a troubling trend toward over-glamorized and over-retouched headshots. Don't be the person who walks into an audition only to have the casting director say, "Nice photo, but who's the person in this headshot?"

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. I remember being corralled through a big empty studio with twenty other actors. It's obvious why photographers schedule lots of actors -- there's more money to be made. I never want anyone I work with to feel like they're just a number on a conveyor belt.

Having a variety of shots will be valuable to you as an actor. When looking through my work, you'll notice a wide array of locations, lighting, and moods. It's important to look for this versatility when searching for a photographer. You're unique as an actor and should never be forced into a narrow trademark style of a photographer.

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

Before your shoot, I'll ask that you think about what shows you think you'd be appropriate for. Once we hone in on what your strengths are, we can find clothes and locations that compliment your type. One of my recent clients came in and said he was targeting shows like Mr. Robot. That immediately conjured up images of dark locations and being on the run. We ended up shooting underground in the subway and created an image that could easily be a production still from that production. That type of shot isn't right for everyone, but that shows how a simple suggestion can lead to compelling a photograph.

I want your headshot experience to be 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 shot in that neighborhood for a several years, but then decided to relocate to the Upper West Side next to Central Park. My new neighborhood is less crowded, runs at a slower pace, and helps my clients relax out of the typical day-in-the-life of an actor.

"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"

For women, the first hour is spent with my hair and makeup artist. I learned early on that headshots only look polished with a professional keeping everything looking great behind the scenes. Once she is done with your hair and makeup, you get to approve everything. If you'd like any adjustments, we will do our best to accommodate them. There are no egos here. While we are shooting, she will stay with us to make sure everything remains looking great. Since she's here, we will be able to focus on getting the best shot, not on whether or not your hair needs fixed after the wind blows it around.

As we shoot, I'll show you previews of the images just to make sure you like how everything looks. Sometimes you think you'll love a shirt, but change your mind after seeing it on camera. It happens. That's why I want you involved in the process. The rest of the time I'll be watching out for all of the little habits actors have -- forehead tension, mouth tension, overactive eyebrows, not breathing. I'll pick on you a little, but you'll thank me later.

"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)

Many studios take days or weeks to get your photographs to you -- often a symptom of taking on too many clients. With me, I upload all of your high resolution photographs the same day. You'll receive an email on the night of your shoot with a link to a password protected gallery. I built the system myself from the ground up. Once inside, you'll see that I've marked all of my favorite images. You can go through and "like" all of your favorites, then you can invite your friends and colleagues to like their favorites.

Once you've chosen your final images, you'll want to have them retouched. I include two retouches with all of my shoots. You need at least two headshots to get started -- one friendly shot (often called "commercial") and one dramatic shot (often called "legit"). If you want me to retouch additional images, they're available for an additional fee of $35 each or you can have one of the local headshot labs retouch them. Once they're retouched, I'll upload them to your gallery where you can download and save them. I'll give you a list a labs in town that can print them if you need 8x10 prints.

All throughout the process, you can email me with any questions and I'm happy to help. Scroll down to view all of my pricing information, frequently asked questions, and to view my online calendar where you can book a shoot day. I look forward to working with you!

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 your shoot includes:
  • Two hours of shooting
    Your choice of indoor shooting and outdoor shooting. There's no limit on looks, but it's best to aim for no more than five.
  • Pre-shoot prep advice
    I'll provide you with a detailed list of what's best to wear and advice on which locations will work best for your goals.
  • An 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. You're able to invite friends, agents, managers, etc. into the gallery.
  • High-resolution downloads of all images
    You're able to download all of the high-resolution images from your photo shoot. There are no fees to access your entire shoot.
  • Photographer selected favorites
    I'll go through all of your images and mark the ones I think will work best for your goals. Ultimately, you get to pick which images are used, but my clients have found it helpful to get my input.
  • Two high-resolution retouched images
    I'll retouch two high-resolution images from your shoot. Additional retouched images are available for $35 each through me, or you can use other professional retouchers.
  • 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 easy.

Pricing information:
$595 for a limited time

Available discounts:
  • - $100: Full-time student discount
    This is for students enrolled in a full-time BFA or MFA program. I also extend the discount to students of the two years programs at William Esper Studio, Stella Adler, AADA, and Atlantic Theater Company. Not combinable with other discounts.
  • - $100: Book with a friend discount
    Team up with a friend, book your individual shoot days, and enjoy a $100 discount on both of your shoots. There's no limit to the number of people who can sign up together. Not combinable with other discounts.
  • - $150: Students who book with a friend discount
    If you're a full-time student and you team up with your classmates, everyone gets $150 off. Just book your individual shoot dates and enter the names of your classmates when you book. Not combinable with other discounts.
  • - $200: Returning client discount!
    You're back! I'm excited to work with you again and you're going to get a massive discount! Not combinable with other discounts.

Hair and makeup artist add-ons:
Prices are in addition to the shoot fee.
  • Women's hair & makeup artist: $195
    It may appear 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's hair & makeup artist: $95 or $145
    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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