Clayton Snyder as Paul Newman

15 images-1 13 Paul-Newman-Biography Clayton has this great and fun personality and a complete zest for life! I’ve had the pleasure to photograph him a couple times now and every time we have a lot of fun. When my wife and I decided to recreate Hollywood icons in today’s market it was she who thought of Clayton as Paul Newman almost immediately. “He has that mischievous sparkle in his eye” she said. And I think we captured it here. CONGRATULATIONS to Clayton who is currently filming NCIS!

Preparing for Acting Headshot Session

ImageI love sharing good information when I come across it. While researching something completely different I found this article. I felt it was nice and succinct and it laid out preparation in a great way so I wanted to share it with you. Taken from:

Preparing For An Acting Headshot Photography Session

The fact that you are reading this is a start. The rest of the process should be somewhat back-to- front.

As the date of your photography session gets closer, give yourself a few days to think about hair and clothing. That way you will be more confident with your choices and still have time for a last-minute brainstorm. Schedule your photo session to account for your cycles of sleep, medication or exams, and allow plenty of extra time to spend at the studio. Also, give haircuts a few days to fall into place, and shave your face (men, and women when necessary, please) at a time that leaves you neither too rough nor too red. The morning of your session, get a good breakfast and read the paper. Then go wash your face and apply some moisturizer to replace the skin oil you just scrubbed out. Under no circumstances should you stay up late, party or drink the night before your session, even if you are not scheduled until late in the afternoon. You just can’t get away with it.

Drink plenty of water. The water will help your skin to appear smooth and clear in the week leading up to your headshot session.

Also, if you arrive overheated and sweaty you’ll have to cool down before the photographer can begin to shoot. This is simply because your photographer cannot shoot an actors headshot when you are glistening, as this will show up clearly as shiny patches around your face. Worse still if you are perspiring heavily, this will show up clearly as beads of moisture and ruin your actor’s headshot.

Another thing to think about is the photographer’s time. Arriving late or not being ready to shoot when you do arrive, can lead to rush or shortened sessions as the next client may be arriving shortly. I allow a minimum of one hour for each appointment as this leaves plenty of time for late arrivals, stress on arrival and in some cases a reluctance to have a headshot done.

Who Should Take Your Acting Headshots?

A photographer, who is familiar with the conventions of the talent headshot business. Your local family portrait studio is probably not right for the job.

What Is An Acting Headshot?

It’s an 8×10 photograph of you, with your name on it, as you look right now, showing how you connect with the camera. The more professional your headshot, the better represented you will be in the industry.

The director wants to see 2 things from a headshot: What you really look like, and if you can connect with the camera. The style of your headshot does not matter. But, simple is better. The photo should be about you, not the background or the environment or a photographer’s fancy tricks. Producers want to see if you’re professional.

Headshot Photos – What To Wear

The best clothes to wear during a headshot photo shoot are a widely debated topic. The following is a version of what I have discovered.

  • Plain & simple, not dated
  • I want to focus on your eyes and not be distracted by your clothing. I would like to see

you in a solid colored shirt (very dark or very light) with an interesting neckline and

maybe a textured finish to the fabric.

  • Limited Jewelry: Avoid distracting accessories, such as large, shiny jewelry. If you have a

    pierced ear, wear studs or small hoops. No matter how much you love your gold

    necklace, remember it will take the focus away from your face.

  • Neckline: Is your neck short or long? A V-neck lengthens the neck; a round neckline

    shortens it. A collar frames the face well, without taking away length from your neck. A collared shirt with a V-neck or a few buttons undone is most popular. Turtlenecks completely hide the neck, which is very unflattering, and should be avoided.

  • No Logos: Okay. NO WRITING ON YOUR SHIRT. logos mean product placement issues and the production staff must be very careful about legal issues. So if a logo appears in your headshot, it just shows you aren’t clued in.
  • You will need to be comfortable in the clothing.
  • Remember your headshot is your marketing/sales tool.
  • Denim jackets: Sometimes they work. Bring it along and we’ll see.
  • No shiny leather: Screams “over the top”. It limits your potential and distracts from your


  • Glasses: If you always wear glasses, keep them on for the photo shoot. Lighting can be

    adjusted to eliminate glare. In difficult cases, the lenses can sometimes be removed

    from the frames, but it is very important to maintain a natural, comfortable look

  • Subdued/No Patterns: Avoid bold colors and crazy patterns. They will present a


  • Light to dark colors are fine, as long as it doesn’t match or come close to your skin tone.

    Wear items that provide some contrast to your skin tones.

  • Anything that has texture is nice. Its adds interest without being distracting.
  • No polka dots, no wild prints, and no distracting stripes. Clothing of this type can have a

    tendency to distract the viewer from the most important subject in your photos, you. Pastel colors are typically not recommended. Neither is white or black, but more importantly, you should avoid anything that clashes with your skin tone. Colors that compliment your skin tone are appropriate.

  • Don’t wear a turtleneck.
  • Avoid blouses with padded shoulders.
  • Don’t try to fit in to something too small.
  • Women should bring the correct bra colors for the wardrobe. (please remember to wear

    a flesh-toned bra under white garments!)

  • Men should bring a couple of different newish t-shirts in different shades.

    Makeup Tips – How to Apply Makeup for Photographs

  •   Skin Features: Do not hide your skin’s personality! Flaunt your freckles. Cover your moles. They are a part of what makes you unique. Unique features are what make others sit up and take notice. Of course, if the day of the shoot you are sporting a monstrous zit, use some light makeup, but I’ll magically heal it! Generally speaking, unusual attractive features are an asset. Who would ever want to say good-bye to Harrison Ford’s chin scar?
  •   Avoid heavy makeup! During finishing of your selected images, we will take care of blemishes and other ‘artifacts’ on your skin during the basic retouch process. Heavy makeup tends to look caked up. Remember that my cameras and lenses produce images at far higher definition than even HDTV and my job is to flatter you, but your headshot has to look like the person that walks into the audition space!
  •   B/W Photo: Remember, if you are going for you’re doing this for Black and White, not color; darker colors will appear as shadow, lighter colors as highlight. The trend in the states is for color headshots and in UK is B&W because I shoot everything in color, you’ll

have a wide range of choices.

  •   Ladies with straight hair: You want to frame your face, so if your hair is very straight and

    long, give it some body to accentuate your face.

  •   Haircut: Don’t cut your hair the day before your shoot! It will look like you just got a

    haircut. Give your hair a week after a cut to relax.

    Remember, it’s all about the eyes!

    How important are the eyes? They are critical to making your headshot stand out. The wow factor! The eyes define a person. They are the windows into that person’s soul. The eyes are one of, if not the single most, important parts of a portrait photograph. It is the first feature noticed. It is also one place where a little post-processing can really make a portrait shine. And your “theater” look is the closest to your natural self in the most positive sense–when you are rested, relaxed in a positive frame of mind and raring to go. For this shot feel free to let your own personal sense of style come through, within the bounds of how you are likely to be cast. Character actors should not dress as ingénues and vice versa.

October’s Challenge Assignment

Screen shot from Gone With The Wind. All credit to the film studio.

Watch old films and learn by great classic performances.

The weather is cooling down FINALLY! What an excellent time to curl up on the sofa and have a movie marathon!! I just love it when there is opportunity to learn and have fun at the same time! We as humans generally learn by example so find some time to learn from the masters.

Some performances to check out:

Vivian Leigh, Gone With the Wind

Marlon Brando, The Godfather

George C. Scott, Dr. Strangeglove

Gregory Peck, To Kill a Mockingbird

Robert DeNiro, Goodfellas

Katherine Hepburn, Bringing Up Baby

Jack Nicholson, The Shining

Paul Newman, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce

There are just so many great ones; don’t feel limited by this list. IMDB fans create lists all the time and of course, there is Google. Have some fun and invite friends!

Attitude is Everything

It is a brutal industry. Is there any other industry where rejection is an every day experience? Where hiring decisions are based not only on skills but on a look? height? weight? gender? The answer is no. In fact, in every other business sector, it’s illegal to do so. Is it any wonder we see and hear so much negativity on line and in person? We here at JT Pro are witnessing an alarming trend of negativity on line from actors. Blog posts, tweets, and FaceBook status reflecting depression, falling short, anxiety, and other comments less then positive.

“Aim at the sun and you may not reach it; but your arrow will fly higher than if you had aimed at an object on a level with yourself.”     ~F. Hawes

The fact is you reflect your surroundings and everything affects your psche. It sometimes takes a conscious effort to find things, experiences, and people who will push you forward and not pull you down.

Ultimately, you are the key to your own success and happiness. Bottom line is you have to set a higher standard for yourself. If you keep setting the target at arm’s length, you’ll never get to the target at the end of the field. Aim high, and then set reasonable mini goals as steps to get to your ultimate achievement.

Blah blah blah…you’ve heard it before…because it WORKS! Sitting on your hands waiting for the phone to ring is doing NOTHING to push you forward. Doing SOMETHING is better than nothing. Those big roles aren’t coming in yet? Think about theater, student films, deferred payment films. Before you roll your eyes ask yourself what can be gained by these? Relationships? Experience? These are NOT bad things. You’ll never know unless you try.

Surround yourself with positive experiences, with positive people, and give a little out yourself to other people. See what happens…

5 Tips to a Better Acting Business

If you’ve been an actor for more then a couple months, you have figured out that there is much more to it then getting great headshots, landing an agent, and going on auditions. Hollywood is big business and to be a successful cog in the machine, you have to know how to run your business!

There are a few resources out there that specialize in how to turn your craft into a business, plenty of books to be sure, and loads of companies willing to take your money for the privledge of preparing your business plan. Ultimately as with anything, it is up to you to decide how much money to invest in this part of your business.

Here’s five tips to a better acting business:

1. Get a good accountant, preferably one that specializes in Actors. This guy (or girl) will not only know what you can and can’t write off but if they are worth their salt at all, they will provide huge relief from money stress that actors tend to carry.

2. Develop a business plan…complete with goals and timelines. This will give you a visual to see where you’ve been, where you are and remind you of what the next steps are. Business plans can be found for free on line or you can pay to have one personalized. TIP: It will mean more and you are more likely to follow through if you do it yourself (cheaper too. 😉

3. Work the plan…you put all the work into developing it, now do it! It sounds simple enough but most people don’t get this far. Read it often and see where you are and be willing to add or subtract a few things as you find they do or do not work for reaching your goals. Check in every two months, reevaluate, and press on!

4. Network…surround yourself with your excellent power team. Then branch out, meet new people. Help other people so they want to return the favor. You know, good karma, what goes around…

5. Get educated…learn about your craft AND about the business of your craft. There is a rich history here and you would do well to know it. Know people, know stories, know companies, and how all of it affects and makes what the business is today.

Have you made a business plan? Tell us about it! What worked and what didn’t. What do you recommend for your fellow actors?

Your POWER Team

A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in a bundle. ~Japanese Proverb

I LOVE this proverb because the visual is SO powerful. And the truth is so simple, as truths often are. This simple truth is the subject of today’s blog. Power in numbers! You the actor and your (turn on the deep commanding voice)POWER Team (insert special effects of explosions here)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It has been said a good leader is not the one who has all the answers but the one who surrounds himself with those who are smart in various areas. The same is true in business and the same is true with the ACTOR. Best selling motivational books have been published and a good million made talking about this concept. The fact is the load is lighter and the goal is reached with more minds on the task at hand. SO who are the members of your POWER TEAM?

REPRESENTATION: The coolest thing about being your own business is YOU get to CHOOSE who the members of your POWER TEAM are! SO whether you choose an agent, a manager, both, or neither, make sure you and they are on the SAME PAGE. Make sure they mesh with your career objectives and that you are all clear on what their jobs do and don’t entail.

MARKETING: Who do you trust with your Marketing and PR? There are PR companies who specialize in just that. Your PHOTOGRAPHER? Web designer? Your MANAGER? YOURSELF OR A FAMILY MEMBER? Remember, you can’t do it all, so choose what you know you are good at and then build your team with people you trust will get the job done!!

ADMIN: Who takes care of the scheduling? the classes? the communications?

FINANCE/ACCOUNTING: Make no mistake, this is an expensive business. Who do you trust to handle the accounts, the spending, and the saving?

THE SHOULDER: Who keeps you grounded? Lifts you up when you are feeling down? Is it a person, a church, a culture? This right here, VERY important part of your team.

Moral to the story…CONSCIOUSLY build your team and surround yourself with people who are gifted in each area so that you can concentrate on what you do best without extra stress of trying to wear all these different hats. Build your team, trust your team, and move closer to your acting GOALS with your (insert deep monster truck voice here) POWER TEAM!!!

The Business of Acting

Lately I’ve been asked a lot about the business side of acting.It’s spurred a lot of interesting discussions with people and I thought I’d take a day and focus on this concept. It’s avery unique balance because the entertainment industry is full of all these wonderfully talented people but very often amazingly gifted people in the arts are not as equally gifted on the business side of things. That is why we have entities like Agents and Managers. These people are very business oriented and it’s their job to take your talent and put you in the positions where you (all) can make money from it. It’s very easy to get upset with the AGENTS and MANAGERS and it’s always easier to point a finger elsewhere when you aren’t getting where you want to be in the business. It’s the whole left brain right brain thing….artist brains just tend to function differently then business brains. But the reality is AGENTS and MANAGERS can only SELL what you give them. So it’s YOUR job to keep them up to date with new looks and skills and marketable skills and anything else they can use as a WEDGE to get in the door to sell you and your talents.

How does this relate to this blog?

Well, a couple of weekends ago I shot a bunch of ‘up and comings’ of young Hollywood sporting their FALL FASHION SMARTNESS and they ended up being their own featured gallery in Spottin’ Style Magazine. Of course, as is the trend with all things marketed, these photos were linked to FACEBOOK and people went nuts commenting and ‘liking’. One of the kids contacted me saying that a Producer saw the photos and remarked that this was a bit of EXCELLENT PRESS. He said, “It may seem small, but every step you take moves you forward and puts you in the limelight to be seen and thought of.” WOW!! What great comments!! Another one of the kids sent the link to their MANAGER. Guess what? That Manager now has the article and photo in that actor’s PRESS KIT!!!

The point is this is a BUSINESS and you THE ACTOR need to approach it as such. Look for those UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES and make the most of them when you find them!!

Do you have a story to share about these unique opportunities? Let’s hear it!! Are you one of those kids from the shoot and want to share how those photos are helping your business? POST AWAY PEOPLE!!! POST AWAY….

BRANDING part one

There is a lot of talk in the industry right now on the concept of BRANDING. Everyone seems to want it, most are pretty sure they need it, but depending on who you talk with, it isn’t always clear what branding is exactly. It’s even more cryptic when the concept of branding is applied to the actor. Slowly people are starting to rise as ‘experts’ in the field but even they haven’t collectively agreed on the group definition. This is going to be a two part blog (maybe even three) in order to break it down so it’s simple and understandable.

Much of CASTING will talk about your BRAND. This is will be in casual conversation or in a workshop and not a lot will be said on the topic because in the past, BRAND has really been about your niche character(s). Like a lot of things in our every day language, this is one of those words that has morphed a bit and there in lies the confusion. When they ask, ‘What is your brand?’ they are really asking ‘Who do you sell your self as?’ Are you branded as the bully? Then own it and come in to your auditions as the bully, hair and out fit, to facials and demeanor. Most INSTRUCTORS will refer to this concept as your niche character(s).  I’ve heard ANGENTS and MANAGERS use both terms so as always, I encourage clear communication with your representatives so there is a mutual understanding.

Now as an ACTOR, you are really marketing yourself. Here is where the more modern definition of BRANDING comes in. The short answer is that branding brings continuity to your public image and the whole marketing package. This includes your heashots, your web presence, your public image at events, your press kit, and virtually anything you put out there (or want to OR don’t want to) with the intent being to create your unique personal BRAND.

Next Post:

Who creates your brand?

How do I know what my brand is?

One last thing…this blog is meant as an INTERACTIVE forum. So let’s talk. Ask questions…throw your thoughts and experiences out there. Let’s work on your career TOGETHER.

Ready for your CLOSE UP

Since the HEADSHOT is the most important tool in your acting bag, let’s take a few minutes to talk about how you get ready for your appointment. We all know you should get a good night’s sleep and drink plenty of water but here are a few other tid bits you may not have thought of and you should… This way your appointment is the very best it can be.

*Don’t eat red meat 48 hours prior to headshot appointment (dark circles under the eye…ooo bad)

*Schedule appointment for when you are the most energetic in the day (NOT a morning person? Then don’t bring your crabbiness to your headshot appointment)

*Come with BASIC make up only (cover up, base, light mascara, chapstick)

*Pack a water bottle and healthy snacks for energy boost if needed

*Brush teeth prior to appointment (seriously…I don’t even want to tell you why this is on the list but it is)

*Don’t wash hair right before appointment (Day old dirty hair usually styles better. Notice day old, not manky greasy, I need a shower old) Along with this, don’t show up with wet hair either. (I know you are laughing right now, but it needs to be said. Arrive with hair styled and ready to go.

Follow these simple steps and when the time comes for your appointment, you know you are fresh, ready, and good to go!

Why Headshots?

You can be an absolutely amazing actor, but no one will appreciate your awesomeness and on camera genius until they see you. A great HEADSHOT has become a necessity in today’s acting market. It’s an odd conundrum as people hem and haw about spending money on headshots. I understand this. These days it seems everyone is saving money where they can and I don’t blame them one bit! The issue comes in with the old attage “You get what you pay for” and if you are getting your headshots from Joe Nobody on Craigslist, you have no idea what you will end up with. Your headshot is the first impression CASTING gets of you. If they aren’t any good, you aren’t getting past the front door and so there you will sit…at home…with all of your amazing talent…in front of the TV, instead of on it. So, do you need headshots? The answer is YES!!!! Do you need quality headshots? The answer is, well, that depends on what your goals are and where you are going….but hopefully the answer again is YES!!!

Here’s some questions to ask yourself when thinking about headshots…

Am I ready to take my acting to the next level? (Then your headshots better reflect that YES you are now yelling)

How many different shots/looks do I need to get? (This is answered by your team of representation and conversation with your photographer)

What photographer do I go to? (One that you CLICK with and will work with your needs and budget!)