remember me on this computer

Your Face Your Future

John Ayton is the director of Visualeyes PhotoRepro Services in London. Since the turn of the century, the advance of digital technology into the commercial photographic arena has been signified by fantastic improvements in image quality, but with a marked and continuing decline in the demand for images to be reproduced as photographic prints.

When drama students are about to take their leap of faith and present themselves to their prospective agents at a definitive showcase, their tutors will expect them to provide suitable B&W 10×8 headshots for the invited guests coming from traditional theatre and casting arenas. Thereafter the requirement for printed headshots recedes as the promotional strategies of agents often revolves round the convenience of the internet. This may present a problem for the actor. After the worry and cost of finding a photographer who can shoot straight and in focus, the resulting digital images may become diminished in their presentation. The issue lies with how an image is viewed on a computer screen rather than as a photograph. Most monitors are not always of a suitable quality to display an image effectively. Some will flatten and change the contrast in the picture when displayed at lower resolutions and this is more noticeable with colour images.

Nothing can be more frustrating than to discover that your main picture hosted on Spotlight depicts you as someone who looks “washed out” because of the loss of detail when the image is converted to a lower resolution. Also emailing digital images may be neutralised by the recipient’s anti-spam filter and another opportunity may be lost. It may be pertinent to note that some picture libraries, who send images to magazine and newspaper picture editors, supply their images as photograph prints as well as retouched digital files on a disk. The idea is that the print will provide more of an immediate impact when considered for publication. It’s all about marketing. Casting a performer is mainly about whether the face fits – it’s assumed that they can do the acting bit – so it would seem imperative to present the headshot in the best light possible using the best available medium! When you hold a 10×8 headshot at arms length it more or less presents the face in a life-size perspective. The thumbnail on a screen will never accomplish that level of presentation.

And what ever happened to the promise of colour? In USA they still value the photographically based portfolio; it’s all in colour with a variety of shots on show. Perhaps now’s the time to restore our faith in the printed image and move on to dynamic colour formats, whilst preserving the strength of the traditional B&W 10×8 promotional repro.

In the end aspiring performers may have spent serious money on a good headshot, so they need to support their investment. It may also prove risky to have prints reproduced cheaply by holiday-snap outlets, digital kiosks or online services, which are short on both guidance and professional service options.

Remember, it’s your face and your future.

For more information please visit: www.visphoto.co.uk




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