Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Headshot Adventures With Maguire Neblett!

Saturday was my birthday, and Karen and I took advantage of the rare occasion of both of us having the same day off to get new headshots taken.

Now, to give you some perspective, my old headshots are old. Like, Jurassic-era headshots; 10 years old in a business where you should really update every 2-3 years. For comparison:
Wow, look at all the hair I had!

Eric Dobbs did these for me. They did the job, and certainly paid for themselves in the work I got using them, but the style is dated, and I'm not just talking about my floppy hair.

While at VCU, I saw a lot of Seniors coming in with contact sheets from local photographers. Time and time again, the ones that stood out were taken by Maguire Neblett. So we looked her up online to find, lo and behold: the Starving Artist Special! Two people share a roll of film, $175 each for 19 shots.Well that sounded just about perfect for Karen and me, so we took advantage of a cancellation in her schedule and went to her downtown studio. And I have to say that it was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my professional career.
Maguire is charming, casual, and hilarious from start to finish. In every possible way, we got more than we'd bargained for. The final result: an afternoon of real fun capped with three spectacular headshots each. After the photo sessions, we sat at her camera, selected our favorite three, and watched her clean them up with a few masterful mouse clicks.

(I'm not going to post Karen's, even though they're spectacular. She really came alive once Maguire turned on the fan.)

According to the wisdom of Maguire Neblett, headshots should make the viewer want to meet the person in the photo. Judge for yourself.
So here's my new primary theatrical headshot. What a handsome devil, even without all the hair. Big improvement over last decade's, eh? And I'm not just talking about the photo.

Maguire described "sexy" looks as one of three varieties. If I may paraphrase:

1. You want me.

2. I want you.
3. I just had you, and I'm feeling pretty smug about it.
The third variety is not as desirable as the other two.
This qualifies, I think, as a bit of the second variety. More importantly, I want to meet this guy. Of course, he's me, so that's not hard to pull off. I meet myself several times a day.

Hm. That didn't come out in quite the way I wanted it to.
Maguire said this picture made me look like Robert Redford. She also described my looks as "rugged." As far as I could tell, she was only drinking Diet Coke.
This is my film & television shot. I don't have a small version of the color one yet (my JPEG editing software is as old as my old headshots), but I'm really happy with it. So happy, in fact, that I'm using it as my "My Picture" here at blogspot.
She claimed this picture made me look like Warren Beatty. Cynde says she sees it in the eyes. I see it nowhere. I like the shine on the shoulder of the leather jacket.

This one I'm actually getting reproduced in color.
There is also a third picture, one in the same pose as the first one, but with me smiling. I loathe my huge, gummy smile, so I won't be using it or posing it. It's only for casting directors who ask for a picture of me smiling. I can email it upon request. (To casting agents, not to random readers.)

I have a thing for off-center framing, if you hadn't noticed.

We left Maguire's studio with a CD-ROM full of goodness: all the raw JPEG files from her camera (a few more than the promised 19 each), three high-resolution TIF files for mass-duplication, smaller TIFs with our names for home printing, and smaller JPEGs with our names for email submission. The complete package, for $175 each. Dag, yo!

The bottom line is this: Andrew Hamm: Postmodern Renaissance Man Incorporated wholeheartedly endorses Maguire Neblett Photography. If you're in Richmond, or really within a few hours' drive, I wholeheartedly recommend her service. Karen and I are completely thrilled.


  • At 7/18/2006 11:56 AM , Blogger Larry Belew said...

    These are marvelous, Andrew. I'm still using the headshot I had taken in New York about eight years ago. The hair is also different--in color--I gave up and stopped dying it a few shows back.
    I would love it if you would post Karen's picture. People would envy you even more than they do now.


  • At 7/18/2006 2:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Speaking from experience, the headshot with the top of your head cut off is not really suitable for on-camera submissions (at least in NY and LA). If they don't know what your whole head looks like, they don't really know what you look like.

  • At 7/18/2006 4:18 PM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    A fair point, but I'm going with the advice of the professional photographer and talent agent here.

    (And please sign your name when you post anonymously so I know if you are a friend I can make fun of.)

  • At 7/18/2006 5:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I guess if the people in the Richmond industry approve then you're all set. But I wouldn't send it to William Morris...

  • At 8/26/2006 2:59 PM , Anonymous Brad said...

    I see the Warren Beatty thing. It's very odd to not see you smiling...or your mouth moving. :)

  • At 10/13/2006 9:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I agree with the previous observation. The head being cut off doesn't look good. A "professional" photographer should know better.


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