We asked Jeff E. a few questions that will help us get an idea of who he is and what makes him click (pun intended).
You can learn a lot more about him from his website.
What is the most important thing an actor can do to prepare for a headshot session?
Know what roles you are going out for and what roles you hope to go out for. Having a solid plan of attack and being well prepared is key so you’re not stressed the day of the shoot.
How would you describe your approach to shooting headshots?
The first thing I say to my clients is that there is nothing they can say or do in front of my camera that is wrong. I try to build such a level of comfort and trust that the real person just shines. I play, talk and act with people so they aren’t thinking about what they look like. They are just real people, in real moments.
If you could photograph one actor, who would it be and why?
Probably Jack Nicholson. He just has that face you could stare at for an hour. So much personality and depth in his eyes. It would be great to get to know the real Jack.
Describe your Best experience with a client. No names please.
My favorite shoots are always the ones where someone comes in nervous and swearing that they are not photogenic. A couple years ago, I was shooting headshots at an acting camp for kids. An eleven year old girl there was very nervous to get her picture taken. After a few minutes, I got her personality to come out and I showed her one of the pictures and said “see, you’re beautiful!”. She gave me a hug and walked away to her friends in tears of joy saying “I’m beautiful”. Helping someone believe in themselves is a great reward.
Describe your Worst experience with a client. No names please.
When I first started shooting, I had a client that came with his manager. No matter what I did, he just would not get comfortable with his manager there. No personality and fake smiles. I now ask people not to bring anybody that might make them uncomfortable. If they do, I kindly ask that person to leave us alone for a few minutes at a time so we can focus.
Describe your Strangest experience with a client. No names please.
I got an email from a guy once saying “I want to shoot”, and that’s all it said. I replied trying to get some more information that most people would volunteer up front (how he heard about me, what he’s looking to shoot, etc.) He replied in very short answers and just rushed back to “So, can we shoot in two weeks?”. I asked that we speak on the phone and I’ll just say, his voice didn’t make me any more comfortable. I went ahead and set the shoot date anyway. He showed up the day of the shoot, which was a hot 90 degree day, wearing a black leather jacket. Interesting choice that made me wonder if I was being set up by the mob or something. I ended up letting him in and we talked for a couple minutes. He was kind of an odd, interesting guy. He ended up killing my girlfriend. No, just kidding. He was actually harmless and fine and I got some cool pictures!
What is your favorite movie?
Fargo. I’m actually from Fargo, ND! The Coen Brothers are just brilliant and they captured the tone of living in that area perfectly. I love dark humor.
What sets you apart from other photographers?
I don’t take myself too seriously. I am also an actor, so I really enjoy acting with actors and really getting to know each person. We are all just human beings who love being creative. Let’s enjoy the process and make it fun.
Are there any other projects you are involved in that you’d like to share with us?
I do a series of commercials for my photography. They are short, inappropriate videos of how a photographer probably shouldn’t behave! www.youtube.com/user/jeffephoto