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Jonathan McInnis Interview Part II: The headshot session!

So you have your session booked!

You found the right photographer, you have set the date, now...

What do you wear???

Thank goodness Jonathan can answer this question for us! Girls, you know how people are always giving us a hard time for over-packing? This is one time no one can complain.

JM: I tell my clients it's better to bring more outfits than necessary because it may surprise you what photographs best! It's one of my favorite things when a client brings their whole wardrobe in the back of their car. Bring many outfits that you feel the best and super comfortable in. When you feel incredible and confident, that shows! I'll tell people to bring in darker, neutral colors, because those photograph best and don't take away from the actor. Patterns and bright, vivid colors can become very distracting. Sometimes there can be exceptions to this rule, but as long as you have those darker, neutral colors to fall back on, you'll be all set!

Now for the hair and makeup!

JM: I always tell my clients to wear their hair how they would at an audition. I wouldn't necessarily say go out and get your hair done. If you want to and it closely resembles what you would bring into an audition, have at it! But I won't be a huge stickler about that, because we'll be moving around your hair. I wouldn't recommend trying a new look for the first time during your headshot session.

I will tell my clients, or a makeup artist if I'm using one, to put on natural makeup with a matte finish. Both of these help keep the focus on the actor. Because the headshot is a close-up still shot of your face, everything is emphasized (especially the makeup). Heavy, shiny makeup seriously distracts from the actor and I will tell people to take it off and reapply if they come in with that. I would never rely on the photographer to take out the shine. If you can have a matte finish to your makeup, do it! When you have good makeup, there is less that needs to be done in editing (which can help if your photographer isn't the best editor).

Most importantly...

JM: Don't forget to have fun! My headshot sessions are founded upon that. If you are an actor in the theatre, the people hiring you are looking for people they want to work with for an extended period of time. If you don't look approachable in your headshot or if you look like you're taking everything too seriously, then why would they want to work with you? The headshot is a representation of you. It's who you are. Have fun with it! You are an artist working with an artist. A headshot is an artistic representation of you. When it comes to my approach, my motto is "There is no right. There is no wrong. There is only exploration." As soon as people forget about it being perfect, they let go, they have fun, and they get great shots.

In terms of retouching Jonathan has a few suggestions.

A lot of photographers will over re-touch. They will whiten the eyes or brighten the iris so much that it looks like glowing eyes, like the twilight poster. They will re-touch the skin to where there is no skin detail. This is an actor's headshot. Natural makeup. Natural editing. If we're talking about pageant headshots, that is perfect! That is the style. That is why I am so passionate about actor's headshots, because they can be so different from a glamour headshot, a corporate headshot, or a pageant headshot. Just like all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares, an actor's headshot is a headshot, but not all headshots are actor's headshots. 

Jonathan McInnis is an international award winning photographer and stage performer based in Dallas, Texas. With a degree in business management , and a special interest in marketing and design, Jonathan brings his marketing and stage experience together to offer actors one of the main marketing tools they need, headshots. He has photographed headshots for more than 600 actors and creatives since 2011, and is regarded as the leading actor's headshot photographer in Dallas-Ft. Worth.
His work can be found on his studio's website, Jonathan McInnis Photography, at


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