Sep 20

Home Invasion Complex… Behind the scenes on ‘Wait Until Dark’ poster shoot.

Worrying what’s at the door on the cinematic, home invasion-themed shoot for ‘Wait Until Dark‘ with Original Theatre Company

Full-page National newspaper spread announcing Autumn 2017 tour

Earlier in the summer, I had the pleasure of being brought in to shoot poster imagery for the UK national tour of Original Theatre Company‘s ‘Wait Until Dark,’ a co-production with Eastbourne Theatres, with marketing by Dressing Room 5 (DR5).

OTC have been around since 2004, and have produced a brilliant roster of national (and international) productions, including Night Must Fall, Birdsong and Invincible, which recently ran off-Broadway.

In other words, they and DR5 know how to sell a show.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 15

Shadows, smoke and Guinness are good for you…. shooting ‘The Weir’ for ETT

It’s not every day your client says ‘take photos like a Caravaggio painting’: looking at the brief and shoot for poster imagery on ETT‘s production of ‘The Weir‘ out on tour now.

The Weir final poster

It’s not every day you’re asked to mimic the shadowy style of Old Masters like Caravaggio or Rembrandt for an advertising shoot, but that’s exactly what happened with this Guinness-infused brief from the good folk at English Touring Theatre and marketing aces Joe Public PR,  in one of my favourite ever commissions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 14

Dress to Impress: simple clothing tips for actors headshots

Don’t take your whole wardrobe! Use clothing choices to control your image in the next in my ‘Take Control of Your Headshots’ series.

What to wear for Actors Headshots with Michael Wharley

Watch the video at the link, or below.

The next in my ‘Take Control of Your Headshots’ series looks at the age-old, agony-inducing issue of what the hell to wear for your shoot.

This is a fairly subjective area so many opinions are available, but I’ve tried to corral some pithy, practical tips for helping you make the most of your next shoot, whilst not taking along every piece of clothing you own.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 26

Advocating Better Headshot Prep for Kelle Bryan & AA

Popping up with some headshot advice in Kelle Bryan’s Advocate Agency quarterly magazine…

I’ve shot a fair few clients for Kelle Bryan‘s Advocate Agency over the last few years, and Kelle always provides really clear guidance for her actors about how she wants them to sell themselves. In turn that makes our shoots detailed, specific and highly productive.

Read the rest of this entry »

May 23

Hot Dame! Biggins gives me the bird at the Acting for Others President’s Awards…

Bowing down to the power of three dames – Dench, Smith and Biggins – and celebrating the charity’s amazing work for the profession, at the inaugural Acting for Others President’s Awards.

Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Christopher Biggins; slightly (ie. entirely) starstruck me at the far right end…

A week or so back, I had the great pleasure of being invited along to the inaugural Acting for Others President’s Awards 2017, at Cafe Zedel, in Central London.

If you don’t know about the charity, it is actually an umbrella fundraising ‘brand’ for 15 theatrical charities, that together help actors and all manner of theatre/film professionals when they are in need, and have been doing for decades. Read the rest of this entry »

May 15

Globe Theatre Exhibit: ‘Nell Gwynn, The Attitudes & The Art of Acting’

Showing some Attitude with a special exhibit of shots from the project at The Globe Theatre to support Acting for Others, coinciding with the return of Nell Gwynn.

 It’s been a pleasure and a privilege the last few weeks to have been invited to mount a temporary exhibition of images from The Attitudes at The Globe Theatre.

The project was inspired by one of the earliest readings of Jessica Swale’s subsequently Olivier Award-winning historical feminist comedy Nell Gwynnso it seemed appropriate the stage the exhibit, working with the Globe’s head of exhibitions, Pete le May, as the play returned ‘home’ for a two week run at the end of a 12 week national tour produced by English Touring Theatre.

The Globe have been kind enough to blog about the exhibit too, so you can read about the photographic approach and the (funny, silly, serious affecting) acting method that inspired the project, as well as check out some photos, on their blog:

The Globe says: Complementing the return of Nell Gwynn to the Globe Theatre, we are delighted to present a selection of photographs by Michael Wharley from his ongoing project ‘The Attitudes’. Stimulated in part by the play, which was first performed at the Globe in 2015, the project includes a number of Nell Gwynn company members. Michael visited this week to install the display, and describes his inspiration for the project…

[Read the blog in full or hit the link]

Still better, the installation is free to view, so pop on down to the Globe on the Southbank, anytime before 21st May 2017.

15/05/2017 MW

Feb 10

Does my bump look big in this? Taking Prevenge….

Getting distinctly non-broody with ace writer-director-star Alice Lowe shooting poster imagery for dark horror-comedy-thriller PREVENGE, out in cinemas today…

Alice Lowe, shot by Michael Wharley for Kaleidoscope Film Distribution

Alice Lowe, shot by me for Kaleidoscope Film Distribution

Had a blast of (slightly creepy) shoot with writer, director and star of new dark, surreal psycho, horror comedy thriller PREVENGE, just before Christmas, thanks to my old friends at Kaleidoscope Film Distribution.

It’s out in cinemas today, 10th Feb, and I’ll expand this blog to look behind the scenes on the shoot, because it presented some interesting technical challenges and made us get pretty inventive.

In the meantime, get on down to cinemas to support what is a brilliantly unusual, slightly genre-defying British flick from a formidable talent.

A talent who managed to wear all three hats on the film while actually being heavily pregnant… Spoiler alert though, that’s a fake bump in the poster..

But don’t just take my word for it, check out what Peter Bradshaw had to say in the Guardian…

10/02/2017 MW

Feb 10

We Survived Actors, did you….

Having a headshots-casting-director-seminar-prize-draw-discount-voucher-sweet-fuelled blast at Surviving Actors 2017…..

Team Wharley at Surviving Actors 2017

The team at Surviving Actors 2017

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you were at the event, so hope you had a great Surviving Actors 2017. It was another brilliant day for us meeting friends, past clients and new faces.

And overdosing on Swizzels lollies.

If you missed it, there were some fascinating insights on my ‘Act Like an Agent, Think Like a Casting Director’ seminar with casters Ginny Schiller & Jane Frisby, and agents Bill Petrie (BWH) and Marcus Ellard (Simon & How).

As well as covering some more basic points (tweeted opposite), we were able to drill down into the relationship between casting director and agent during the casting of a project.

Exactly how an agent follows up a submission to  advocate for a client; how a casting director manages an offline sense of up to 7,000 actors beyond anything that happens online, and whether self-tapes might mean the end of showreels (spoiler alert: not quite yet!)

Beyond all of that, we explored exactly how and at what point during casting the promo resources actor spend their hard-earned money on are used and useful.


Oh, and  PRIZES…

The Theatre Vouchers prize draw was picked today at random. Congrats to the winners:

£50 vouchers: Acushla-Tara Kupe
£25 vouchers: Ed Cooper



9 Pro Posing Tips to help lose the fear factor.

Featured in the show programme, my ‘Act Your Way to Better Headshots’ piece was aimed at anyone who’s ever struggled relax in a headshot shoot, or found it hard to translate confidence as a performer into posing on camera.

These 9 simple tips aim to help to chill out, pose naturally and use your acting skills to communicate more effectively in the stills medium.

Check it out at the link How to Pose for Actors Headshots: 9 Pro Tips


Look forward to seeing you next year for another fantastic event.

10/02/2017 MW

Jan 30

‘Act like an Agent, Think like a Casting Director’ at Surviving Actors 2017

Learn to ‘Act like an Agent, Think like a Casting Director’ in a special seminar, plus free Headshot Healthchecks, discounts & prizes to be won at Surviving Actors 2017.

This weekend – Saturday 4th Feb – I’m back at Surviving Actors for my 6th year. It’s a packed event featuring seminars, workshops and 1-2-1s, not to mention a trade hall full-to-bursting with publishers, casting software providers, voice coaches, showreel editors, and, yes, even photographers.

But more than that, it’s a vibrant, energy-packed day; you can see people leave filled with enthusiasm and ideas, reinvigorated and ready for what the year has to offer, after a January/winter slump. 

If you need more persuading, the vid above features me droning on a bit more about why I like it so much. And I have put my money where my mouth is and sponsored the last three London events.

‘Act like an Agent, Think like a Casting Director’

I’ve managed – thanks to the some very generous industry folk – to put together a seminar at 12.15pm Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 06

Words & Faces: how your brief changes your headshots

Looking at how two very different clients on one morning reveal some headshot insights: exactly how an actor’s brief, needs and ideas mesh with a photographer’s eye and skills to take you both to new places.

Rose Shalloo and Chris Charles; shots taken about 45 minutes apart

Not long before Christmas, I had a pleasure of a morning shooting with two actors, Chris Charles (with Byron’s Management) and Rose Shalloo (with BWH Agency).

Both came in to the studio on ‘The Pro’ shoots, the 1.5 hr headshot sessions I offer that tend to suit actors with some stills experience, and/or a fairly clear sense of what casting ideas they want their headshots to reflect.

Fine Folks, Refined Ideas

Chris and Rose are lovely people, with interesting looks, not to mention doing well as actors, so it made for an absorbing 3 hrs of back-to-back shooting.

But that could describe plenty of mornings; I’m lucky enough to have a lot of nice and very varied clients.

I decided to write about this particular morning because it concretely illustrates some quite refined ideas about how as a photographer I have to be on my toes with my technical skills, and respond to each client as unique, but also how the input & experience of, AND brief from, an actor can just as important for a successful shoot.

Read the rest of this entry »

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