What do you get when you combine the launch of two innovative online companies, food, drinks, entertainment, and the AMAZING venue that is Docler Creative Campus? Cocktails & Connections.
On Tuesday June 6, 2017 – hundreds of guests ranging from actors, dancers, agents, and the like gathered in Hollywood, California to celebrate the launch of Acting Resource Guru and Acting Coach. And of course, tons of mingling and conversation took place as guests were able to enjoy delicious eats and drink (courtesy of a major event sponsor, Belvedere).
Sadly, I was on the move every second this night and didn’t get a chance to indulge in the food. But there was NOTHING left at the end of the night – so, I’m sure it taste as good as it looked.
Acting Resource Guru and Acting Coach weren’t the only companies in the building this evening. A wide range of vendors were in the building to showcase their respective businesses.
Big. Laughs. Everywhere. Folks really enjoyed themselves on this fine Tuesday evening…
On a serious note – what’s an event without a photo booth?
And what’s an event if you can’t take and post selfies? #GuruLaunchParty
Kicka Custom Designs were a big highlight of the night. Er’body and their mama’ brought out cameras for this one.
Another highlight of the night was this area we refer to as the bar.
I had to do another section of all the HAPPY people at the event.
The dancers of Club Jete put on quite the performance.
Founder of Acting Resource Guru, Ajarae Coleman, and Founder of Acting Coach, Jeremiah O’Brian, give a quick address and thank you to the crowd. Big ups to these two for taking the lead to put such a great event together. If you’re an actor, absolutely be sure to check them out in the links below.
Photographer: Charles Maceo Photography
Venue: Docler Creative Campus
Like many husbands, I often scramble when I ponder, “What should I get my wife for Mother’s Day this year?” That question then leads into a seemingly endless string of other enigmas: What do I say? How do I say it? Is it special enough? Am I awful for not having a sixth sense for this sort of thing in the first place? I then think of one sub-par idea which suddenly gets eclipsed by another. Hours later, I’m now ping-ponging mediocre plans until I just give up and start Googling, “Romantic Mother’s Day gifts desperate husbands can give their wives.” It garners results that lead to the not-so-creative idea of “Hey, spend a lot of money at that one fancy restaurant with small portions and non-edible decor that monopolizes your plates.” Yeah. Original. I roll my eyes, scoff…but oddly enough…I start giving in. Ehhhh.
BUT THEN, I read the ONLY one negative Yelp review (out of 34,283 positive ones) from some old man chiding the filet mignon and it feels like the apocalypse and I can’t possibly make reservations now because what if the old man is right? And what if my wife orders the filet mignon and hates it?!
Now, I’m more frustrated than a customer at Costco the day before 4th of July and start Googling, “Who in the world created Mother’s Day in the first place?!”
(No. Seriously. I did this. Anna Jarvis is her name. Thanks Anna.)
I turn off my computer. Shut down my smart phone. “Why am I making such a deal of this?”
Well, it’s because I love my wife. I want to articulate my appreciation to her for nurturing our daughter in the Herculean way she does. I want to acknowledge her dedication so profoundly because I’m afraid that I fail to do so on the other 364 days of the year. I want her to see what I see between her and our little girl: The bond. The beauty. The chaos. The deprivation of sleep. But the smile she does it with. The loss of “me time.” But then the way she is still fully present in every now with our child. The 25th hour she is always searching for because in the profession of motherhood, she clocked in once and never, ever clocked out. Yet still, my wife doesn’t long for a yesteryear because…well, life is just so exponentially better with our sweet Ava.
There’s no gift I can purchase to show my gratitude. No 5-star eatery can do it justice. But my addiction to resiliency continues to lead me to rest on that old adage of, “Never give up. Ever.” So I won’t. And I didn’t this year. While up north and in the spur of the moment, we headed to Woodward Park in Fresno, California for a family outing. And I brought my camera. And simply clicked away at my girls. Those captures are what I decided to hand my wife. A figurative mirror, so to speak. And through it, it is my prayer that she sees the vibrant reflections of herself with Ava. Their love for one another. Their one-ness. Their ever-blessed magic.
Our little love bug.
Perfect, perfect weather in Fresno, California.
Peas in a pod.
Speaking of exploring…
Oh, how emotions of children change so quickly 🙂
Partly thrilled to see the duck. Partly afraid of it.
A mother’s gaze.
In-love with this intentionally out-of-focus shot 😉
Shoulders: you can lean on em’, cry on em’, or stand/sit on em’.
Aftermath of being spun round’ n’ round.
Could these two get any beautiful-er? (Yeah, I know. Not a word. But you know exactly what I meant, though).
Ava will frame this one when she’s older. I guarantee it.
You can’t quite tell but mama’ is trying to keep up with this little speed-racer.
Some say a picture is worth a thousand words. Others argue that they speak a thousand of them. I personally hope these ones leave you speechless. Happy Mother’s Day, my love.
Over the last few years, I’ve shot around 1,000 headshot photography sessions in Los Angeles. I’ve shot “green” actors. Series regulars. Actors who have no representation. And actors who are repped and (thankfully) referred to me by some of the most reputable and trusted agents and managers in town.
Clients and potential clients often ask, “What will help me get the most out of my headshot session?” It’s a loaded question but since I can confidently speak to this, I figured “why not blog about it?”
My opinions aren’t gospel – but they do come from an informed place with a large sample size of the many headshot sessions I’ve captured and the many, many conversations I’ve had with actors, agents, and managers. So, without further delay, here are 11 ½ Ways To Ensure A Successful Headshot Session…
1. Same Page: Talk to your reps before your session – Remember: agents and managers know the language casting directors are putting out for character breakdowns as they are looking at them every…single…day. They’ll know the “trends and types” you may fit and it’s a good idea to strategize around that. You (hopefully) should know what your type(s) is/are as well – so the conversation should be a 2-way street. Neither party wants to feel like your headshot session is missing anything so send a few emails or schedule that 5-10 minute phone call. Drive across town to meet them. You get the picture.
If you don’t have representation yet, link up with trusted industry colleagues and professionals who can help you identify your type(s) accurately (and even help you strategize ways to get representation). Resources like Actor Salon are PERFECT for this sort of thing.
2. Headshots are for acting, not Tinder: What in the world do I mean by this? It’s simple: unless one of your types is the “heart throb” or “hot guy/gal”, a highly marketable headshot is not really about looking ultra-attractive. It’s about being specific and getting you into the rooms of casting directors. So, if all you’re thinking is “how attractive am I in this photo,” you’re moving in the wrong direction. Your assessment of headshots needs to be centered around, “Is this photo going to get me called in for the right auditions?” And…”Do I actually look like my photos?”
3. Play the verb, not the adjective: Let’s say, you’re going for a look that will get you called in for “mayor, lawyer, CEO, etc” and within that look, you want some of the shots to come off “authoritative.” Well, if you’re thinking, “I’m going to be so authoritative right now” – the result is often something that looks forced. Rather than play the adjective of “authoritative”, play the verb of what an authoritative CEO or lawyer might do (to threaten, to belittle, to overpower). It helps actors SO MUCH when they do this. The camera catches the most subtle of thoughts especially when they are action based.
4. Eyes, eyes, eyes: We HAVE to see them. Make sure to talk to your photographer about the best angles for you, where your chin is to be placed, etc. And for those who have a tendency to squint, whose eyes get smaller at certain points (i.e. whenever you smile), along with making sure your headshot photographer knows how to best shoot you – there’s always the option of opening those eyes up a bit more in post (meaning retouches) and doing so naturally.
5. B.V.O.Y. : Speaking of retouches, your photos need to be the Best Version Of Yourself. Part of the luxury of spending an hour or two with my clients is that I know what you actually look like. So, when I go into the retouch phase of headshots, my aim is to retouch the most accurate and dynamic version of you. I know we can be critical about wrinkles, nose shape, teeth, etc. But you must walk into the casting office looking like the headshot you or your rep submitted. Otherwise, you’ve wasted that CD’s time, and in a sense, lied to them. Who wants to leave that sort of impression on casting? Exactly. Nobody.
6. Stop being so perfect: That small wrinkle on the left side of your shirt? Oh – that one tiny hair that is out of place? The knot on your tie isn’t 100% perfectly tied? Folks – don’t stress the small stuff. While I’m not saying to show up to your shoot with the most wrinkled outfit we’ve ever seen, what I am saying is don’t freak out over the trivial. Casting directors are literally looking at a thumbnail sized image of you for a few seconds before deciding to bring you in or not. They are not studying your headshots for hours. Nor do they ever go, “OMG – she totally fits this breakdown – wait…zoom in. Nevermind. Don’t call her in. Wrinkle on the shirt near the collar.”
7. Be kind to yourself: A major component of taking great headshots is you being relaxed. Part of a headshot photographer’s job is to help you relax but you play a big part in as well. Don’t negative talk your way out of a successful session. If you spend the majority of your time and energy criticizing your weight, shape, how you “used” to look so much better, your age, grey hairs, wrinkles, blemishes, etc., what type of shots do you think you are going to get? Don’t be so hard on yourself. And relax. There’s a place for everyone and every look in this industry.
8. At a Moment’s Notice: If you spend hundreds to do your hair and makeup for a headshot session, keep this in mind: casting notices are often sent the night before or even THE DAY OF. With that said, will you be able to look like your headshot at moment’s notice? (Hint: This answer needs to be yes.)
9. Shoulders and mouth: Relax them both. From my experience, a lot of people tend to carry tension in these areas and don’t even know it and it can result into you always clenching your teeth with shoulders that are shrugging. Unless that’s what you’re going for, remember to relax. Your photographer should always keep an eye out for this as well.
10. Know your photographer: For headshot photography, it’s not just about having high-quality gear, understanding how to put you in the best lighting situation, etc. But does your photographer understand what the goals of a headshot are? Have they shot actors before? Do they know how to talk to actors to get the best out of them during a shoot? Do you vibe with them? You want to make sure you feel comfortable with your headshot photographer because ultimately we are here to serve you and help you get the tools you need (in this case, marketable acting headshots).
11. Don’t Force It: Check out the photographer’s portfolio, first and foremost. How do photos of clients with your similar skin tone and aesthetics look? Does the photographer do in-studio shoots? Outdoor with natural light? Both? Make sure you’re clear on what you prefer and see if that photographer meets those needs. Just like a headshot photographer shouldn’t be forcing you into taking shots of types and looks that do not fit your brand, you shouldn’t be forcing a photographer to shoot or light you in a way that isn’t their forte. Make an informed decision when hiring and ask a million questions if you need to. You owe it to yourself and your career.
12. A Lil’ Research Goes A Long Way: Spend time on IMDB, headshot portfolios, etc. to see what headshots really stand out to you and why. Is there a mood you like in the shot? The lighting? Colors that pop on actors who have a similar skin tone to you? Those are all helpful to note and even share with your photographer. Now, you’re not sharing those photos to tell them to get an identical replica as the one image you saw of your favorite actress on IMDB but…they should get further clarity of what you’re going for. Also, in terms of research, I’m a big fan of asking to see the headshots of acting peers and friends who audition/work a good amount. Clearly, there are reasons their headshots are working. They might even share the headshots of other actors they know who audition and work a lot as well. The more you know…
12.5 Have Fun: Enjoy the session. You’re investing your hard earned money into a major component of your career. Be present. Be intentional. But also loosen up and don’t take yourself too seriously. In a lot of ways, headshot sessions are an opportunity to act! What story can you tell in these still images? How drastic or subtle do the shots become when you have a shift in thought? It’s a great opportunity to get more comfortable in front of the camera but more importantly, to just play!
Charles Maceo is a Los Angeles based photographer specializing in headshots, weddings, and portraits. To see more of his headshot work, click here. If you’re interested in booking a headshot session, you can do so by clicking right here.
I love shooting Fall weddings and had the honor of capturing Evaristo & Shauna’s very intimate and stunning day this past November. The venue? Perfect (I can’t think of many better places to shoot at than the historic Queen Mary in Long Beach, California). The weather? Perfect (no surprise – it’s California). The couple? Perfect (I have the photos to prove it). It was just a plain ole’ regal, classic, and elegant day and I am thrilled to share some of our captures below.
These gents’ were a riot. And might I add: they clean up well.
Shauna looked stunning as did her bridesmaids. And Shauna’s creative fingerprints were all over this wedding: the black dresses. The black feathers accenting the flowers. I dig it.
The moment before the “first look” is a favorite of mines. Of course, I love seeing the bride and groom react to seeing each other for the first time on their big day…but I also love seeing them all giddy’ moments right before.
I think they liked what they saw 😉
It’s always nice to have a little extra time with the Mr. and Mrs. right after the first look. Gives me a chance to take capture another moment or two.
The loooooooooooove boat.
(I was really trying hard to find a way to romantically connect love to a ship since we’re talking about the Queen Mary…the old TV series/song came to mind). But seriously, it’s amazing to see the environment and couple compliment each other so well.
As a photographer, I know how very true the adage is that, “a picture speaks a thousand words”. Simple and beautiful tribute to those who are no longer with us.
Making their way on down the aisle…from the old(er) generations to the new. And if you ever need to make sure wedding bands make it safely to the ceremony, I think the kid is for hire.
Smiles, laughs, and tears were all very present during this ceremony.
Not only was it sealed with a kiss. But also…a dip.
It’s a family affair! Oh. And those kid’s expressions are hilarious.
I love, love, LOVE shooting without the flash if at all possible – especially at night. Sometimes, it just makes sense. These 3 images feel so perfect to me…from the Long Beach skyline to that look Shauna is giving to Evaristo (off camera), and a little phone booth moment.
The grand entrance. Everybody was ready to par-tay.
The last first-dance they’ll ever have. And it was a sweet one.
Mother/Son, Father/Daughter dances are always such sweet moments. For me, all the decades upon decades of history feels so palpable.
More love from the bride and groom’s parents.
Best-man and maid-of-honor toasts. And don’t ask me about the shirt. You had to be there. #BadaBing
No wall-flowers were allowed at this celebration.
“Life’s too short to say no to cake.” – Anon.
“You should always eat 3 or 4 slices of cake at a wedding.” – Anon.
*** The 2nd quote might belong to me. But I won’t confirm or deny this. ***
No. Single Ladies, as great of a hit it is, was not playing during this particular bouquet toss.
And the winner is…not getting married anytime soon. But it’s a fun keepsake for her nonetheless!
Evaristo took the stage, took his time, and of course, took that garter.
The winner actually wore his crown. He earned it.
Thanks for checking out this blog post but sadly, all good things must come to an end. But to the bride n’ groom, your new life is just beginning and I thank you for allowing me to capture its official genesis. Blessings to you, Evaristo and Shauna!
Wedding Roll Call:
Photographer: Charles Maceo Photography
Venue: The Queen Mary
I have a special place in my heart for the Vilasuso family. Kaitlin was one of my first headshot clients when I just started my business years back…and sometimes, you’re blessed to meet people you feel incredibly happy to be around right away. It was the exact same feeling when I met her awesome husband, Jordi, not too long after that and eventually beautiful kids came into the picture (pun intended). We set out to Burbank, California where we spent a few hours shooting and also, time after, to just talk and catch up on life. I am honored to know them and to have captured some beautiful moments below.
A gorgeous family with hearts to match. All 4 of them.
Look at Baby Ev and those glorious eyes of hers looking straight into camera.
As a father, I can say this: the bond between a girl and her daddy is incredibly special.
I loved the posed shot – especially with the family dog being on cue too. But what a sweet moment between mama and papa too…
Speaking of bonds – mommy and daughters have a strong one too. Kaitlin is a dynamic mother and little Riley is the very definition of sweet.
Perfect reflection of the Vilasuso family: one that walks together, hand in hand, every step of the way, with joy that is rare to see. Thanks to the Vilasuso’s for not just allowing me to capture this season of your lives but for being straight up, good folk. I appreciate you, my friends!