Mark Kempner on JGW Photography

Mark Kempner - ActorMark Kempner - ActorHeadshot and portfolio shoot. Mark Kempner is a highly experienced and accomplished actor with over 20 years in the business.  Following his headshot session, I asked Mark if he would provide me with feedback on his experience.  I am really pleased with what he has to say when putting into words what so many actors and actresses have told me about their own experience during their headshot portfolio sessions.

Mark's TV appearances include: Dr Who, Stains of Staines, The Wolds, Rosamunde Pilcher, Peep Show, Little Dorrit, Vital Signs, The Worst Week of My Life, Holby City, EastEnders, Wycliffe, Get Fit with Brittas, The Bill, Pie in the Sky, London Bridge and Jackanory, and a host of roles on film. 

Here is what Mark Kempner has to say:-

As an actor, one must have an up to date, main headshot picture of oneself. This is the first vital item in an actor's PR tool kit, or certainly should be. If you don’t grab the attention of the searching casting director or the considering agent then you are out of the running for a role or representation from the very off! I call it the “killer Picture!”

Having been in the business for a number of years myself, I have found it hard to get a photographer who is able to capture the real “me” perfectly. Nice shots but not that “killer” shot us actors all need.

Jenny has a unique and easy way of achieving this. She directs the shoot making you feel completely at ease from the off, including a nice welcoming cuppa and chat before the session begins. It is a relaxed atmosphere as opposed to the ultra busy “churning out 100’s per day” atmosphere some of the large corporate photographers seem to fall down on. Let’s face it, we are actors and liked to be relaxed and looked after a little bit don’t we?!

Once we got chatting it was very evident Jenny had already taken the time to research my website and spotlight pages to see the sort of work I do and the type of castings I would be right for. I consider this very important because the caster or the agent wants to know that the person they see in the picture is exactly the same person who walks into the meeting or audition. I have been staggered at pictures of actors how so many don’t look like their picture at all in real life. Or the picture looks plain and uninteresting on the screen or page. I feel an actor’s headshot must leap off the page or out of the screen!

Jenny sends you a useful fact sheet prior to the shoot so you know what to bring and prepare. Once Jenny had chosen a couple of my shirts/tops, she went about setting up the shoot. It was evident all the appropriate top end professional lighting, camera kit and back drops were in use. She took time to take test shots and get the colours and camera settings spot on. She was quick to achieve this and I could see she knew exactly what she was doing.

SHOOTING STYLE
Jenny has a great way of setting the mood that she wants with the artiste. She talks you through a number of simple mood scenarios. As an actor, this will be no problem, it’s all about getting the best from you. Very quickly I was 100% trusting her style and method. After each mood scenario, I was shown the pics and again this helped make me realise I was getting good shots.

There is no point a photographer endlessly snapping away, as all you end up with are 100’s of average shots! Jenny got just the right angles and body postures out of me…all very subtle….but it quickly made the ideal shots in my opinion. It’s quirky, but it was fun and easy enough to follow her direction. Jenny doesn’t just take the picture, she “makes” the picture. Jenny knows when she has what she needs and her unique direction soon gets you there. That said, the shoot was not rushed in anyway whatsoever.

VIEWING & SELECTION
Once we had all we needed from moody to dramatic to happy, we started to view all the pictures on her computer. This is a process which normally takes me forever. However, Jenny’s excellent eye was again very quick to spot the duff shots! Not that they were duff in quality, just where I was clearly not looking at my best. She is ruthless, but I would have dithered over this process!! Very quickly and carefully we soon had our top selection and a choice of the ideal killer shot in my opinion. We had both agreed on the one that should be the main pic, but of course final choice rests with your agent.

EASE OF SHARING
Jenny has an excellent website and head shot gallery system for proofs sharing/viewing etc. This makes it very easy for one's agent to decide on the main shots to use.

PRICE
I believe Jenny provides an excellent value for money service and one of the best head shot portfolios I have attended.

SUMMING UP
Jenny knows her stuff and she is one of the rare headshot photographers who understands what an actor needs. She is very easy to work with, I will definitely use her again and I am very happy to recommend her portfolio services.

(Oh and she makes a darn fine cuppa too!)