Headshots for a Teenage Theater Troupe

by Harlan, April 3, 2014

I was recently called to take some promotional photographs for a theater troupe of teenagers in high school who are headed to Edinburgh, Scotland, later this year.

Fellowship of the Ravens has commissioned a new play about the metal health issues experienced by teens, and how storytelling can play a role in dealing with some of these issues. The high school where these students attend pulled back its support of drama, and my friend, the drama teacher, established a non-profit organization to keep the theater program running. I’m helping the Fellowship by managing their website, working with them on a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds necessary to put together the ambitious production, and offering my services as a photographer.

Last week, I brought some of my studio equipment, including two strobes and a white backdrop, to the high school where the group was having one of its first rehearsals after receiving the first version of the script from the playwright. One of the students will be pursuing photography in college, so I enlisted her as an assistant.

There kids are seriously talented actors (and backstage crew). I wanted these headshots to be the real deal, images they would be able to use as theatrical professionals who shop around their 8×10 photos looking for work. I was aiming for the theatrical actor look, not the commercial actor look, so I steered them away from smiling. Nevertheless, some of the smiling headshots ended up working better than the serious images.

With regard to body posing, I stuck mostly to the textbook rules on posing men and women for portraits, but every once in a while, there was a pose against the grain that I thought looked better.

I’m pretty happy with the results. Here are a few of the headshots and one group shot. The full complement of headshots are on the show’s Who’s Who in the Cast page, and the group photographs are found throughout that website.

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