Hi my name is Nick James and as I’m sure you have gathered by now I’m a photographer for actors. If you are anything like me you will have already had a look at the “mug shots” page and if you’re now reading this it’s because you would like to know a little bit more. I’ll keep this short and sweet, I went to art college for two years and then had a change of heart and went to GSA for three further years. Since leaving I’ve been working either as an actor, artist or photographer. Of late it’s been much more as a photographer but I feel it was the art and acting that has set me in good stead for the world of head shots. Over the past 17 years I’ve been very fortunate to have picked up recommendations from most of the top agents in London, I’m afraid there are far too many to list on this page. I have also photographed students from nearly every drama school in the country.
Choosing a photographer to take your headshots can be a daunting task. You need to make sure they tick the boxes for what you are looking for. Over the years head shots have changed drastically in the fact that you can now have more than one photo on directories such as Spotlight, which can show off different characters that is right for your casting. The difference within the photos need to be strong enough to be noticed, this is not by just changing a top and hoping it makes a difference, it need’s to be more and it needs to be in the eyes and thought process. This is a big part of how I love to work, I always aim to get that look (what ever the look is we are going for) in the eye that is telling the viewer of the photo a story. In most cases this is going to be a casting director, a director or an agent. There needs to be a enough of a connection between you, to pull their focus and keep hold of it. We have to remember your headshots are to get you work in the industry, they are not just to put on social media for everyone to say how amazing you look (although it’s always nice to hear this) it’s not the reason you are having them taken. When you are researching photographers remember to look for this, is there a story behind the actors eyes or do they look nervous and lost. The quality of photos these days are staggering and with airbrushing can look amazing but a casting director will see through this if they don’t have a connection through the eyes in the matter of seconds.
You should always prepare for your session, I will send you a detailed page on what you can do to make the external look the best you possibly can but it’s the internal look that will make your photos stand out. When you get a second, have a look back at my mug shots or the slideshow to see what I’m talking about.
One of the best parts of this job, is seeing and hearing an actor’s success a few months after I have taken their photos. Having found out in the session, they are just not landing the castings that they should be, to hear that now they are and getting the work offers too. It’s incredibly rewarding and makes all the hours of work worthwhile.
Finally; time, find out how long a photographer is going to spend with you. If you need to get a number of looks or you are a bit nervous in front of a “stills” camera this is going to take a bit of time, so make sure you go with a photographer that offers a longer session where you will not get stressed out and feel as if you are being rushed to finish. If however you are confident in having your photo taken or are just wanting to get a couple of looks then a shorter session might be enough for you.
I’m honoured to a founder member of the APHP