Jun 07

People, Faces, Castings; spreading some new-job joy

Explaining why the ‘getting to know you’ of a headshot session makes friends of clients, and celebrating some of their recent casting successes.

© Michael Wharley Photography 2014Working with an actor in the headshot side of my photography life means that I tend to spend a couple of friendly and chatty hours with a new face, and then a couple more looking at that face finalising shots in post-production.

It might seem a workaday scenario, but in fact it’s often a sort of fast-track, mini friendship.

Safe room

That’s partly because for an actor, being yourself for camera, rather than acting a character, can be a nerve-wracking prospect. Not to mention one wrapped up in tender issues like a change in casting type, pressure from an agent, or simply seeing how time has changed you. The truth is, to do well in a shoot, clients often need space to be a little vulnerable and feel safe.

I think any good portraitist reading this knows exactly what I mean, and knows how they create a supportive environment. And I’m sure any actor who has enjoyed a shoot, will have experienced that feeling of support, spoken or otherwise.

Like a good rehearsal process, it’s about having the confidence to take a risk, be less than perfect, knowing someone has got your back.

Getting to know you…

The end result is that as a photographer, you do often feel like you get to know someone in a way that might take a bit longer in regular life.

But, life is regular life, and rolls on; likely, you don’t see people again until their next set of shots are due.

And that’s fine; like the acting friendships that last the length of a tour or run in town, those brief connections are perfect just as they are.

People, Faces, Castings

In fact, they’re a big part of what makes the portraitist or headshotter’s life endlessly interesting.

If you’re not slightly obsessed by, or at the very least engaged with, the inexhaustible variety of humankind, then you’re probably in the wrong profession.

But they do explain the almost unreasonable pleasure I take in hearing, via Facebook, Twitter or a casting announcement, that a past client has got a job.

‘Ah, lovely! Haven’t seen John Doe for two years, but he’s got a great part in a big tour. Amazing!”

Spread the good news…

So, after a spate of such announcements in the last few weeks and months, I thought it’d be nice to start sharing and celebrating those successes.

Not to suggest that my photos got them their opportunities – their talent, and their agents’ hard work will have done that but simply to spread the joy a little further.

So, mighty props to:© Michael Wharley Photography 2014

Cordelia Fox with BWH, who is soon joining the West End cast of musical KINKY BOOTS as female lead Nicola.





Jackie Clune3123-jackie-clune-michael-wharley-2016-4-web with United, who will shortly be playing the title role(!) in Phyllida Lloyd’s all-female Julius Caesar, part of the Donmar Shakespeare trilogy.






Amit Dhut,© Michael Wharley Photography 2014 repped by McLean-Williams who just finished shooting on an episode of Doctors.






© Michael Wharley Photography 2014




Bel Powley with BWH, who was nominated for the Rising Star BAFTA 2016 award and is currently filming WW2 feature ASHES IN THE SNOW, with sci-fi feature EQUALS upcoming, opposite Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart.





© Michael Wharley Photography 2014 © Michael Wharley Photography 2014© Michael Wharley Photography 2014








Wil Johnson (IAG), Fraser Ayres (Global Artists) and Don Warrington (CAM), who have just finished in Talawa’s  acclaimed in King Lear at Manchester Royal Exchange

© Michael Wharley Photography 2014Gloria Obianyo, a recent graduate of Rose Bruford, who just yesterday was announced in the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park.

and © Michael Wharley Photography 2014Barbara Marten with Independent, who continues as the Psychologist in the Oliver Award-winning People, Places Things.

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