I was a Chicago actor, dancer, and photo hobbyist, but never for a second would have thought I would be a professional photographer. I remember asking my friends when I first started in theatre which photographers they used for their headshots. I was usually surprised by the contrast of how great the photo was shot and how out of it they looked. I vowed I would never have a headshot like that and continued my search for a photographer that would get me “there”. It never happened.
Years later, I stepped behind a camera when my best friend needed headshots in a hurry. He said, “My aunt just got a new camera. I’ll just have her do it.” I cringed and every bad headshot that I had ever seen flashed before my eyes. I had no clue what I was doing, but I remembered how I wanted to be shot by my headshot photographers and went for it. We had such a blast and seeing his positive reaction made me instantly fall in love with headshot photography. Little by little, taking headshots became all I could think about, but the idea of becoming a professional photographer was daunting. Just when I shifted my focus on other things, my friend called and said his agent wanted to send more of her clients to me. It was like the universe gave me the green light and I haven’t looked back!
In the weeks that followed, I tried to absorb all I could about photography. I knew I needed a mentor to get me on a clear path and one nearly jumped off my computer screen. During my research, I came across a short YouTube video featuring a boisterous, curly-haired headshot photographer in New York City, Peter Hurley. He spoke of headshot photography with authority and passion, and rooted his success in people and their expressions, not camera techniques! It blew me away. That was it!
I could not believe a few months later I was working with ‘The Man’ soaking up all the knowledge he had to offer on what makes people cool and interesting in front of a camera. Sitting there I could not have imagined that Peter would hand select me as a PH2Pro Associate Photographer in Chicago!
For me a headshot is all about the expression! Perfect exposure, cool backgrounds, daylight vs. studio mean nothing with out expression. Confident eyes are nothing with out approachability. A smile means nothing if there is a disconnect in the eyes. I set out learn how to get every person who stepped in front of my camera “there” and I did.
I could not imagine venturing out on this journey without the support of my incredible wife, mother of my two beautiful children, who recognized the drive I had to pursue this and stepped in stride with me all the way. This started out on a whim a over two years ago and became a goal realized with the opening of my studio in Spring 2013.