99 Problemz, but CIF Isn’t One


Catharine Savage

As you might have guessed, I’m particularly happy whenever someone I shoot has a success story.

Like when Richard was discovered by an independent film company by putting his headshot in his Facebook feed. He went on to shoot almost a dozen independent and student films over the past year.

Or The Katydids, who are now producing the television series Teachers for TV Land.

Or Lou Leonardo, who just happened to book a little thing known as a Super Bowl commercial.


Kimberley Michelle Vaughn

Well, two people that I photographed over the past year, Kimberly Michelle Vaughn, and Catharine Savage, are in an improvised sitcom called 99 Problemz.  Their show has just been picked up by the Chicago Improv Festival this year.

Congratulations!  I’ll see you at CIF!

When my job becomes more then just fun

Richard Esteras, understated

Richard Esteras, understated

This is Richard.

You might otherwise know him as Richard, the guy who won the “worst” headshot contest, which won the shoot that resulted in the photo, above.

Before I photograph anyone I meet with them and talk to them about what they want to do.
Headshots – as I’ll say again and again and again – are all about marketing you.
If a photographer wants to photograph you the way that they photograph everyone else, walk out.  They are not helping you to market yourself.  They are using your image to market themselves.

Richard wanted to do more film.  He is not a small nor delicate man. He understands his look very well, so we agreed that he should capitalize on all 6-foot-plus-ginormous of him.

Because let’s face it, Richard looks like a badass.

If you were to cast him in a film, it would probably be for an action hero, or an enforcer, or just that bad dude that breaks things, kills people, and jumps out of a plane… but not necessarily in that order.
What you don’t want to do is market Richard as the romantic lead that writes love songs.

With that in mind, I took other photos, but we also made sure we had pictures that strictly were there to make him look like a badass.

Now at the end of every shoot, I give my clients a disc of all of their pictures.  I suggest to them that they edit them down to their favorites and put a few online to narrow them down further.

Richard took my advice and put the pictures on Facebook.

Then something kinda cool happened.  A friend of a friend saw his new images.  They were looking to cast a badass.  He was invited in to audition for a movie produced by 34th Street Films, a Tyler Perry Production.
Richard was cast.
Just like that.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not trying to take credit for Richard’s work.
Richard has been taking classes in every aspect of performance to make sure he was ready.  He lobbied everyone he knew to vote for him so that he could win the “worst” headshot contest.  He worked with me on everything from choosing the right clothes, to narrowing down the right “look” for him.  And I’m sure he nailed his audition.

But this is when my job gets to be more then just fun.
When my work helps someone get cast.

Congratulations Richard!  You really did earn this.

Sometimes, the worst isn’t… well… the worst thing

Congratulations go out to Richard Esteras! Richard entered the “Worst Headshot” contest, and won!

He will no longer have to use this picture:

Richard Esteras

Richard, out with the old headshot…

I’ll be meeting with him soon to update this look. And as long as its cool with Richard, I’ll share the difference with you.