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 »

Dec 08

Salon Selective! The Attitudes in the Photofusion Annual Member Show

Privileged & indeed proud to have an ‘The Attitudes‘ shot selected for the Photofusion Salon | 16 Members Exhibit


I trained at Photofusion on a film and darkroom course back in 2005/6, and I’ve been going there ever since for social events & training course, to use the darkrooms, digital printing facilities and more. I even helped out on a fantastic medium format community photography project for schools based on ‘The Wasteland’, in 20014.

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Oct 30

‘The Attitudes: Work in Progress’ at Make Space Open Studios 2016

Striking a thespian pose with work-in-progress showing of portrait series ‘The Attitudes‘, supporting charity Acting for Others, as part of the free Make Space Studios Open Studios 2016.

Strike an Attitude!

Strike an Attitude; images from the project to date!

The Attitudes

It’s our annual Open Studios at Make Space where I’m based, this coming weekend, so time to share where I’m at with a current piece of work.

What makes good acting? Melodramatic & absurd, funny & truthful, the dramatic photo-portraits in this ongoing series explore the portrayal of emotion on stage & screen, in the past and the present.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 16

Going for Gold! Winning BIPP SE Photographer of the Year 2016

Enjoying awards success and some beautiful work by an array of talented photographers with the British Institute of Professional Photography South East Awards 2016.


Winning at the BIPP SE Awards 2016

Winning at the BIPP SE Awards 2016

This week saw the announcement of the annual British Institute of Professional Photograph (BIPP) South East region awards.

This is an annual event celebrating the quality and diversity of work within the BIPP’s membership in London and beyond, with categories covering everything from commercial to fashion, to fine art, to Science & Nature, to wedding, to portrait photography and beyond.

A great range of work

It’s always fantastic to see the breadth and sophistication of fellow BIPP members’ work, and a welcome chance to appreciate other peoples’ eye for a shot and technical skills.

You can check out the full range of work at the link: BIPP SE Winners 2016

Winning Gold…

Gold Award for Tessering Heights © Michael Wharley Photography 2016

Gold Award for Tessering Heights © Michael Wharley Photography 2016

Personally, I was delighted to receive nods for two images in the Advertising section, including a Gold for ‘Tessering Heights’ – a composite image featuring ace actress Kelly Clare shot in the studio, and blended with a Scottish Highlands landscape I took on a trip some years back. There was also a bronze for musician Mr John Landau‘s fine phizzog.

The Attitudes is a project I’m currently working on together with charity Acting for Others, and a Silver for ‘Silence’, featuring actress Gemma Arterton in the People and Portraiture category, was the perfect fillip for the next six months of work.

'Silence' with Gemma Arterton

‘Silence’ with Gemma Arterton

…winning again: Photographer of the Year!

Rather pleasingly, I was also awarded the overall title BIPP South East Photographer of the Year 2016-17!


Not that any of this is the reason why we shoot, but it’s nice to down camera and take a step back every now and again.

Thankfully, there wasn’t much time for excessive self-congratulation, given that Chris Harper, the BIPP CEO, presented my Award just as I was about to lead a BIPP Lighting workshop.

So, exactly two seconds of smugness, and then back to work!

16/09/2016 MW


Jun 22

‘People, Faces, Castings’: 15 minutes with actor Jason Eddy

He’d play a dead body in a moat to get on Game of Thrones, but his Grandma saw his acting potential early; recent client, experienced Bermudian-born actor Jason Eddy, shares some of his career highlights, lowlights and insights, to begin my new ‘People, Faces, Castings‘ series.

Headshot for actor Jason Eddy.

Jason Eddy ©Michael Wharley 2016


Jason Eddy [Agent: Natalie Ball at Noel Gay, Spotlight]


I trained at The American Musical & Dramatic Academy in New York, New York and then The Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London.

How do you get work?

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 01

How to Pose for Actors Headshots: 9 Pro Tips

Terrified before your actor headshot shoot? Don’t be! The next in my ‘Take Control of our Headshots’ video series, looks at how to relax and ‘act’ yourself for stills.

Watch 'How to Pose for Actors Headshots'

Watch ‘How to Pose for Actors Headshots’


Terrified of the stills camera? Finding it hard to relax in your headshot shoots? Feel like you’re not sure how to use your acting skills in a photo session?

I think the skills that make a great actor on stage or screen are just as relevant to creating great headshots, so this practical video aims to help you relax, pose naturally & communicate more effectively with the stills camera in your next shoot.

Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 01

Think Like a Casting Director at Surviving Actors 2016

Learn to think like a casting director in a special seminar, free Headshot Healthchecks, plus discounts & freebies galore @ Surviving Actors 2016

This weekend, I’m back at Surviving Actors for the fifth year running. 

With an excellent programme of seminars, workshops and 1-2-1s, not to mention an array of service providers on hand – from publishers to photographers to showreel people – to cater every acting need, I think it’s one of the very best events for actors going,  

Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 27

Do You Need 3D? Headshots spun the CCP way…

Getting in a spin over 3D headshots and wondering who benefits most from the revolutions?

Giving it some: CCP 360 states its case

Giving it some: CCP 360 states its case

Last week, Casting Call Pro made a big, slightly breathless, announcement to its members – perhaps you got the email – about a “radical” new development. One it is trailing in various ad banners and emails as a “revolution,” both “the future of online casting“, and that will also “change the future of online casting“.

Momentous stuff, eh?! Well, the product in question is ‘Headshot 360’ a 3D headshot, so let’s forgive a little enthusiasm in the sales pitch – more on the sales bit below – because that is genuinely pretty cool.

An actual 3D headshot! Proper, bona fide, living-in-the-future cool! “Look Hubbards, the back of my head! Say, when is the next Bourne Casting?!”


Casting Software Stagnation Set Aside

Joking aside, as a former actor, current photographer and a longtime (often frustrated)  observer on the casting tech area, it’s very good to see one of the main casting software providers exploring new possibilities.

Given that Spotlight STILL doesn’t work properly on an iPad or tablet (come on guys, it’s 2015, where do all those subs go and why can’t I zoom in on a photo?), any advance at all should be encouraged, especially one that is aimed at helping actors give a more accurate self-preview to employers and casting professionals.

Quite whether all the photographers who pay to advertise to CCP’s members on its websites would agree with CCP’s announcement in the advertising copy that,  “headshots are… one dimensional” is questionable.

For a start, to be precise they are two-dimensional (do check your copy,  CCP marketers!), and secondly, most professional portraitists would argue that a well-lit portrait contains subtlety, nuance, and a sense of facial topography through careful use of light and shade.

3D in 2D, if you will.

That aside, the ability in a 360 Shot to scroll around 360 degrees of an actor’s visage in the horizontal, including the full-gamut of profiles and straight on looks, is a new tool and can’t fail to be of some use in the casting process, so you can see why CCP is keen to offer it to members.

A Totally New Dimension?

But is this tech as groundbreaking as trailled? Well, check one out here, but perhaps not.

Read the rest of this entry »

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