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First of all, it is important to realize that photographers don’t label themselves as theatrical headshot photographers vs. commercial headshot photographers. You should want to accomplish both types of photos from one photo session. A good headshot photographer should be easily able to provide you with both. The question you should ask is, “Can this photographer bring out both my commercial essence and my theatrical essence?” With Alan Weissman, the answer is a solid, “YES!” Because Alan uses studio lights as well as natural lights, he is able to produce different moods with his advanced lighting techniques. He can produce a dramatic, fun-loving, or sexy look simply by changing his lighting. This is one of the many benefits of working with studio lights vs natural light. In addition, Alan always does an extra look for his clients!

Here are some of the elements that define commercial vs. theatrical headshots.

  • Smile or No Smile:

One way to define a commercial shot is by the smile and facial expression. The line between the two can be blurry because the in-between smirk can be used for both commercial and theatrical pictures. However, in general, the traditional definition of a commercial shot includes a big, bright smile that shows joy and happiness, while no smile or a dramatic look translates best to a theatrical shot.

  • Lighting:

Another difference is with the lighting choices the photographer makes. Flat or bright lighting is generally used for commercial shots. Theatrical pictures can be done, using contouring and shadows for dramatic effect.

  • Colors:

Commercial shots can be expressed with brighter, happier colors.

Theatrical shots are usually defined by darker, moodier colors.

It is important to note that different looks don’t just rely on color choices and lighting. You, as the actor, need to be able to convey your different looks with your acting abilities and essence. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can just get “general” headshots. Do your homework and understand what different looks really look like and you will produce photos that get you into that audition!