Japan 2017 – Day 3 March 20

Today we got up early due to the time difference, even though we are NOT morning people. By 8:30AM, Kaz, Rick, and John Jack had gone off to teach acting class.Actors Headshot Los Angeles Photographer

After poking about and having morning coffee, checking email, and reading a bit of the ever depressing news from the States, our friend, Seri came by and we nosed about Shinjuku a bit before going to hang out with Kaz and gang.

There were a few actors who had signed up to get head shots done, so I was busy doing that while Kaz translated. We were in a hallway of a building and I was checking out the light there but had decided against shooting there. As we were leaving the area, I looked down and there on the floor was a very special necklace that I had given Kaz years ago. Somehow it had simply fallen off and I found it. Weird.

Actors Headshot Los Angeles Photographer

After a LONG day of waiting for the teachers to stop chatting with actors, we headed off to the “Robot Restaurant”. It’s a huge production with robots “fighting” dragons, and other robots, and dancing ninjas, and crazy mad costumes of all sorts. It was a formidable costume and light show with lots of loud music. First of all, allow me to clarify…it is NOT a restaurant in any way, shape, or form. It is an amazing, wonderful, colorful, fantastic show….if you are 8-10 years old. Otherwise you will feel completely ripped off. Maybe we’re jaded because we are from LA LA Land, but it takes more that costumes, lasers, and jumping around for me to be drawn in.

Actors Headshot Los Angeles Photographer Actors Headshot Los Angeles Photographer

We got a kick out of that and wound our way out of Robot hell to try and find a bar. Dan, Rick’s brother, mentioned there was a fairly famous bar nearby. It’s the Albatros Bar and was visited and recommended by Anthony Bourdain when he was in Tokyo.

When we got there we were informed there wasn’t much room left except a bit in the upstairs loft overlooking a small part of the city. That was great for us, so we headed up the stairs.   The group of Californias asked us “Did you take JAL from LA on Friday?   We were sitting in front of you guys.”   We found out they were at the same show at the Robot Restaurant.  AND one of them were living in SF – where Dan works, and his cousin lives in Little Tokyo in LA.    What are the odds, eh? In all of Tokyo, we ran into them 3 times.

Actors Headshot Los Angeles

We had a good laugh, tried to join them for drinks but there wasn’t enough room where they were or where we were the next floor up….so who knows, maybe we’ll run into them again in LA.

When in Tokyo, it’s hard to keep track of time because everything is lit and even at 2 or 3AM people will be scurrying about the city, so at some point we made it back to our house just a little worse for wear.

Year 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR

So, we have said goodbye to 2016. One thing that is always good this time of year is that we all get to start 2017 with a clean slate and good intentions. New Year’s resolutions aside, it is a good time to see what was positive in 2016 and continue doing whatever it was with renewed vigor. We get to fix what was broken and keep what worked.

In the business of being an actor, it’s easy to let things slide because you are your own boss. Not too many agents in LA are going to call you up and ask how you are, how was your day, and how they can help get you more work.

Most agents these days just want to cut contracts. As harsh as that may sounds, when you look at it from their perspective, they have a huge pool of people who want to be actors and very little time to develop and guide individuals. YOU have to get the work and then they will do the contract deal. That means you have to make sure they have all the tools they need at their disposal. Your resume, reel, and head shot must all be up to date and available.

In less than a year, if you are going out much at all, most casting directors will have already looked at your head shot. Whether you got an audition or not, your photo has been out there and, hopefully, circulating. With that thought in mind, your head shot can become “stale”. If you are being submitted (or are submitting yourself) but are not getting any auditions, then you need a new head shot. If you have five head shots and only two of them are getting you called in, then replace the other 3 with something new.

Point is, your head shot is your first point of attack, your first calling card, and your first opportunity to get in the door. To let that slide is to undermine your career from the get go.

I look forward to seeing you all in 2017. Start the New Year with a fresh shot and listen for opportunity to knock!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Michael Helms

 

Happy New Year -

Happy New Year –

Photography Workshop – Weekend intensive – July 2016

Actors Headshots Photography

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RESERVE YOUR SPOT – EventBrite   STUDIO vs. NATURAL LIGHT SPECIAL WEEKEND SEMINAR: Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM Sunday, 10 AM to 5 PM $375.00 – Two Day Intensive Saturday – Arts of Photography Basic of Photography – Natural Light vs. Studio Light How to work with Lighting equipments Glamour – Old Hollywood Look […]

Tokyo – Fri. March 18 & March 19 – 2016

I will be shooting headshots and portraits for Japanese public figures and actors!

We still have several spots available.

Please contact Sayoko or myself directly.

 

headshot photography in Japan

headshot photography in Japan

PDF:

Tokyo Shoot 2016

 

 

Shooting engagement in Nashville!

We are going to see my parents in Nashville in September to cerebrate Squi’s 3rd birthday!

So, while we are there – I thought I should shoot some artists!   Contact Kaz via email to make an appt!

Headshot-photographer-Michael-helms

Summer 2015 – Headshot Workshop

Special Intensive Weekend Workshop:

Saturday,  July 11
Sunday, July 12
(10 AM to 4PM)

SIX students only

Saturday, 9 AM to 12 noon – Introduction
Saturday, 1 PM to 5 PM – Basic

Sunday, 9 AM to 12 noon – Intermediate
Sunday, 1 PM to 5 PM – “Starting up as a business” / Special Guests

Two Days for $350 (Return Student Discount $175)

Individual Workshop:
Introduction $120
Basic: $150
Intermediate: $200
Seminar: “Starting up your photography business”: $120

Las Vegas – March 1- 4, 2015

(updated 4 PM  / Feb, 24, 2015)

I will be shooting in Las Vegas in March again!  Get ready for the summer fashion/bathing suit bookings!  Please email me directly to book.

Available spots are –

Sunday, March 1st -SOLD OUT –

Monday, March 2nd
9 AM –
3:00 PM
4:30 PM

Tuesday, March 3rd,
9:30 AM
2:00 PM
3:30 PM

Wed. March 4th
SOLD OUT 

I will be back in LA on Wed. late evening!

Priscilla Taylor

Charlie and the Big Bad World

AH yes…social injustice… a familiar bell ringing in my old hippie ear. Shall I wade in?? Well…I’ll go in ankle deep here, OK.

This is not a problem that has a solution. At the very best, it has only agreements to disagree.

I disagree profoundly with the KKK but I defend their right to free speech and, yes, even when it points it’s boney finger of vitriol my direction because of some of the beliefs I hold dear.

I have an idea…”Hey, Muslims, if you don’t like Charlie Hebdo cartoons, don’t look at them” because there are MILLIONS of your brothers who are peace loving, free speech defending, and TRUTHFUL practitioners of your “faith”. Matter of fact, a police officer that these guys murdered was a Muslim.

In a society, we have to have rules, laws, and boundaries. I could possibly drive 50MPH in a 25MPH zone but there are laws against that because at some point in time, lawmakers decided the risk to reward balance was too great to drive faster than 25.

Even though I am (confession alert!) a bit of a voyeur and even a bit of an exhibitionist, I don’t have or watch sex in public because there are laws against it (damn!). I SHOULD be able to freely copulate in a city square, but some Bible thumper took exception to it when someone did it once, so lawmakers did their thing.

This silly analogy can be extended to the extreme, as it was/is with Charlie Hebdo.

The French have laws against veils, crosses, etc etc for a just that particular social reason. Frankly, I’m iffy about it, but if I were Muslim, I’d abide by that law because it is the law of the land I choose to live in. Don’t like it? MOVE, or get involved in the accessible French system and lobby for changes you deem necessary and acceptable.

Terrorism has historically not worked and now the Muslims have an even BIGGER PR problem. Even folks who disagree with some of Charlie’s provocative tactics, have now come to defend their “right” to publish what they will. Millions of dollars have now poured in to keep that magazine running and people are flocking to want to work for the publication.

A blog I recently read stated, “And as I write this, I get this feeling the third world war has already begun, and nobody has quite understood that yet (and I also hope I’m wrong).”

The hope I maintain is that we are now coming into an age where people are more informed, more educated, and more world aware. With education, statistics suggest, religion dissipates and it’s power shrinks. Not in my lifetime, I know, and probably not even in the lifetime of my children, but if humanity survives, my hope is a larger awareness of the consequences of actions will precede the actions themselves. That is my HOPE.

In the meantime, I turn 65 in March and am able to see more clearly the scope and limitations of my own sphere of influence to make this hope become flesh. But as I have produced two children who now share and spread this hope, Mr. Jihadist just had a litter of 7.

Rather than take up more space, I will simply refer you all to the Bard, who said it best.

Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” Act II, Scene VII   http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/you-it-act-ii-scene-vii-all-worlds-stage

Charlie Hebdo

Photoshop ­ – to retouch or NOT to retouch

One of the things I hear a lot these days is “I want my photo to look natural”. Yet, when I sit down in front of a computer monitor after a photo session to view their head shots, I hear ”can you fix this, and that, and that, and….”

In this age of digital manipulation, the general rule is: It is a GOOD thing to Photoshop your photos, it is a BAD thing to OVER­Photoshop your photos”

If you are in the public eye ­ an actor, model, CEO, or celebrity ­ you need to be aware of your image. The first thing to know is that you are not in the business of reality.

You are in a business of fantasy or at the very least idealism. No one who views your photos wants to know you had a zit the day of your photo shoot. No one is interested in seeing your blobby mascara, nose hairs hanging out, or blood shot eyes, even though that’s the “way it really looked” or the way it was “naturally”. When we view photos of George Clooney, we want him to look as perfect as our fantasies imagine him. We want Angelina Jolie to have flawless skin, perfect hair, and a trim lovely figure.

Dove has been running a campaign the last few years showing makeovers and accentuating all the stuff done in Photoshop afterwards. The idea is to show the “real” faces of models and therefore make them more “human” and accessible and thereby draw attention to their products. In my opinion, this is a huge marketing mistake. These videos will draw a lot of attention and get a lot of nods of approval but in the end will not increase sales of their products as much as an ad NOT showing the before images. People need a goal to strive for not someone who they look at and ”Oh well…with THAT MUCH photoshop, I can look good too!” It’s like telling people there is no Easter Bunny!

I had an agent here in LA tell one of my clients to “just shoot a selfie” for her head shots!! While I understand the agents frustration with actors bringing her head shots that don’t look like them, I also think a selfie is a horrid misrepresentation of oneself. The distortion of camera phone lenses, awful lighting, and unplanned images makes selfies fun but useless as a business tool.

So where is the magic line? When is an image “over Photoshopped”?

If you have a mole, leave in it because to will be there when you go on an audition. If you have a blemish, retouch it out.

It’s OK to soften laugh lines a bit but to remove them is a mistake. Taking the red out of your bloodshot eyes is fine because HOPEFULLY you won’t always have that, unless you live in Colorado.
If you plan on losing a little weight, then it’s OK to take some off in Photoshop but rarely do people actually go ahead and lose that weight and so you’d do better to look like your photo.

If you are taking a photo for your wall at home or for a gift, then you can Photoshop to your hearts content, but if it is for work, then less is more.

While on this topic, I should add that there is a lot of BAD Photoshop out there, so buyer beware. A photographer should either do it himself or have someone on staff who is proficient and will sit down with you to do the Photoshop Head shots in LA are going through a “natural” phase right now, which is a good thing, but beware of anyone who tells you not to do any Photoshop at all.

Remember ­ it is a GOOD thing to Photoshop your photos,

it’s a BAD thing to over­Photoshop them.