Giving It A [Head]Shot (Part 4)
Was I blushing? Or was I a whore with a ridiculous amount of rouge smeared over my cheeks?
If you’d been keeping up, you’d know the answer was “both.” I had just completed my very first pseudo-professional photo shoot—It went great, thank! My head was spinning. I couldn’t wait to see all the pictures Emily and Aaron had uploaded onto my hard drive and ice the foot their dog, Ira, had crushed repeatedly.
I brought light to the lives of this photography couple, but my work was done now. With my girls, Sheena and Pepper, at my side, I retired back to Sheena’s apartment to wash the 2lbs of makeup off my face. It was here that I caught the first glimpse of the high-resolution photos I’d paid for.
Now, I’ve spent a considerable amount of money on a lot of really dumb shit these past several months and I can say, without any doubt, that these pictures are my best investment yet.
were are perfect. Exactly what I was aiming for. Spray tans fade; in time, gravity will have its way with a forehead paralyzed by Botox; even a colon, irrigated with gallons and gallons of tepid water, will eventually grow shitty; but these pictures…they are forever. They are a gift and they just keep on giving. To me and to all of you, you lucky, lucky sons of bitches.
Sheena and Pepper felt the same way. Together, we sifted through the 130+ pictures to find the very best. It was tough. During the shoot, I had four sets: purple shirt, purple shirt with dogs, nerdy professional, and gay stewardess. All special. All deserving. I envisioned the final product, how perfectly douchey it would be, and the satisfaction I’d feel seeing my very own 8x10 up on the crowded wall of an LA establishment, being scrutinized by a snarky stranger. A snarky stranger…just like me. (I know that’s everyone’s dream, but mine is different. It’s mine. And that makes it more important—and more likely that it will come true!)
The coupon I’d found for this photo shoot stated that I would get free touch-ups for two photos of my choosing. Blemishes would be removed, lines would be softened, and dull eyes would be made to twinkle. I know what you’re thinking: James, why would YOU need touch ups? I know, I know. As superfluous as it is, I can’t turn down free shit. It is my nature. And if there is anything at all that I can do to make me look less human and more like a wannabe-actor, I am 100% behind it.
I selected two pictures and emailed them to Emily and Aaron for touch ups. Then, I waited. And waited…and waited. When the pictures finally came in, I was delighted with the results and ready to proceed with the rest of my plan.
Touched up or not, the pictures were all great. There were so many good ones to choose from, that when it came time to create an actual headshot, I decided to use pictures from each set that compliment each other best. I would then assemble them into a collage, like I love to do, and let the humor grow organically from there.
I’d say it worked. The town would soon be plastered with my image.
I could not wait.
If you would like YOUR OWN SIGNED HEADSHOT donate and shoot me an email:
And if you wanna take a guess as to which two of those photos are touched up, go for it! It’s okay. You can’t hurt my feelings. I’m dead already.
Giving It A [Head]Shot (Part 3)
It was time.
Aaron prepped for the shot, lowering a colorful backdrop and readying his camera, while Emily let her dog run amok and crush the tops of my feet. Through the pain, I think I heard her offering some advice on how to pose.
“Lower your face…eyebrows are good…No…Yes! More of that!”
Oh, don’t worry, guys. She got more. I was giving my all for this one. Performing like you’ve never seen me in the finest LA douchebag outfit I could scrape together on a shoestring budget: a purple deep v-neck and a fedora.
This ensemble was the first in a series of quirky looks I’d be demonstrating to showcase the scope of my abilities as an artiste. In layman’s terms: I was playing dress-up and mimicking every headshot I’d ever seen. Each sly smile, fiery stare, coy smirk, and playful wink was an homage to the countless glossy portraits I’d been subjected to these past five years.
“Now the other eyebrow…perfect.”
I flirted with the lens incessantly, nearly melting it with my smoldering looks. When we broke for a moment after finishing our first set, I honestly believe it was so the camera could cool down. Poor thing ‘ll never forget me. And I’d give it several more reasons not to as we continued.
I asked Sheena to bring her dog because I knew I wanted to use Pepper in a few shots. It was a surprise to us that the photographers had their own dog, but even more surprising that it looked nearly identical to Sheena’s.
This worked out perfectly.
Next, a costume change: “LA Douchebag” gave way to some sort of “vague, nerdy-professional” persona. The glasses cemented it.
This is a very common look for men in headshots. By virtue of being so flattering for men, business-y menswear sneaks into a lot of photos and connotes an image of sophistication, maturity, and masculinity. I had to work hard to undermine this.
Time was of the essence. The photographers’ next client would be arriving shortly, so there was room for just one more costume change. To make the most of my time, and to offer a complete contrast to my last outfit, I thought hard and chose wisely when I gayed it up as a male flight attendant…or cub scout leader—I dunno. Something with a neckerchief.
We were having so much fun, pedestrians walking by couldn’t help but join in.
By the end, the photographers had taken over 130 high resolution, professional photos of me…
—Part 4 coming soon!
Giving It A [Head]Shot (Part 2)
A headshot is just that: a shot of your head, a simple photograph. I have friends with cameras, anybody could take my picture, but that would undercut the humor of this entire experience. And, I like to think, only a professional could do this mug justice.
I was lucky to find a small studio that promised to do the job at a discounted rate and luckier still to have my friend Sheena come with. Sheena is a “writer”/personal assistant, too, so until we go through with our suicide pact, we like to support each other’s work whenever possible. That means, not just coming with me to take behind-the-scenes photos, but also acting as my manager, stylist, prop master, and makeup artist. This was a big deal. Sheena was up for it and so was her dog, Pepper.
A lengthy drive and the three of us finally arrived at our destination: a small home with a large garage. Not quite what I expected, but the couple living there, “Emily” and “Aaron,” had a flashy website, a camera with a very big lens, and a dog, just like Pepper, named Ira—And if that doesn’t scream “professional,” well, then, I just don’t know what does.
The appointment began with some heavy gushing over the dogs. They were both very cute and the fact that they looked strikingly similar only added to their appeal—but I wasn’t going to stand for it! Whose special day was this anyway?
My insecurities got the best of me. I ordered Sheena to crack open her makeup case and make me beautiful. I needed to shine.
Thankfully, she’s Indian, so her own makeup matched my swarthy hue, but that twinkle in my eye…that was natural. All. Me.
With a headshot, one wants to show one’s range by showcasing different looks. My weekend on Melrose Avenue, and all the time I’ve spent laughing at facebook albums labeled “Headshots!”, taught me well. I knew exactly what the camera
wanted needed. And I was ready to give it up.
—Part 3 coming soon!