We asked Lesley Bohm a few questions that will help us get an idea of who she is and what makes her click (pun intended).
You can learn a lot more about her from her website.
What is the most important thing an actor can do to prepare for a headshot session?
The most important thing for an actor to do when preparing for a head shot session is to know who they are insofaras the characters they are right for. They need to know what they are looking to convey and quite honestly they need to know how other people see them, not just how they see themselves. Sometimes there is a gap between what an actor thinks his image is and what a casting director sees in him. The actor then needs to be able to communicate to their photographer his basic character needs and his direction in which he is going such as 1/2 hr comedy, sitcom, one hour drama etc… If I get a rough outline on what an agent or manager wants from my actors then I can specifically craft photos that work the best for my client.
How would you describe your approach to shooting headshots?
I really love to connect with the people that I shoot and I make sure that they are relaxed and feel that they are in a safe and friendly environment to play and be themselves. With this environment in place it enables me to capture their best energy and personality. I also love to shoot with natural light. I believe that natural light is the only way to really get the most out of a person’s eyes. With my natural light studio I have the best of both worlds, I can shoot with natural light but I can control the situation inside my studio. I also take my actors outside for a shot or two so it breaks up the session and they get an outside feel to their photo. It all depends upon what the individual actor that I am shooting prefers. Some people like more privacy and so I shoot in the studio and others feel better outside and thus I go outside for one look or two.
If you could photograph one actor, who would it be and why?
Johnny Depp of course!!! Really, I love to photograph all levels of actors from beginners to pros but I would love to shoot Johnny Depp because he knows who he is, how he wants to be portrayed and he is comfortable being himself in front of the camera.
Describe your Best experience with a client. No names please.
I enjoy shooting all of the people that come to me because with me it is so much fun sharing life experiences and having great conversations that translate to being real and having real smiles and energy so that we get the best possible photo for that person.
I love when I connect to my clients and I get to create a symbiotic environment where we are both giving and taking. I really strive to create this environment with all of my clients. The best experience for me is to see the smile on my clients face and to hear them say ” I really look that good? wow, thank you Lesley, these are the best pictures that I have ever taken”
Describe your Worst experience with a client. No names please.
I have been shooting for over 25 years in Los Angeles and I have seen many people pursuing their dream of being a working actor.
I have shot both celebrities and actors that are just starting out. What I have found over the years is that to be an actor they need to be able to trust and open themselves up so that their true essence can come out in their performance. No matter what character they are playing, to achieve greatness as an actor, a real and authentic part of them has to reside in the character that they create. It is the same for headshots. The key to an amazing headshot is the availability for the actor to access their emotions and to be able to emote their essence in the photo. Usually it is the actor that has a hard time trusting and opening up that has a struggle to get that ultimate headshot. There have only been a few actors that have had this struggle with me, I have many techniques that I use to make my clients feel comfortable when I am shooting them.
Describe your Strangest experience with a client. No names please.
In the entertainment business there are a lot of strange things that happen. I fully expect the unexpected with actors,( which is why I love actors) because they can bring the unusual to the party. (film, tv show, character, photographs)
I won’t get into the details but for one photo session with a celebrity I had to lend them a piece of my personal lingerie for the shoot (that I was wearing) because the stylist didn’t bring any foundation garments to wear with a revealing blouse. That may have been the most memorable and strangest experience for me as a photographer.
What is your favorite movie?
I love any Hitchcock movie such as Rear Window, who doesn’t like James Stewart and Grace Kelly?. The lighting and camerawork were spectacular as were the clothes. I like the opening shot in To Live or Die in LA, ( yes it’s an old one) probably the first 5 minutes worth. To me it shows the classic LA landscape and they move over the city and it reminds me of when I first moved to LA. I also love anything that John Cusack is in. I love Grosse Pointe Blank because it has John Cusack in it. It was shot in California and most of it in the town I live in and of course in the movie it is made to look like Chicago, how fun is that? The ultimate illusion of film making fascinates me to this day.
What sets you apart from other photographers?
There’s not a lot of women photographers that have been around as long as I have in Los Angeles. I feel that as a woman I see things differently and can capture something different in people. My specialty is to find the essence of my subjects, which I find easy to do with my skill in natural light photography. I watch for the small details of the shot at the time of shooting so that there is less ‘fixing’ later. Plus I really work on bringing out the eyes and personality of my clients which to me is the most important thing in a photograph. Your headshot needs to speak to the person looking at it, usually a casting agent or producer/director, and that is what I do. I also have my own natural light studio which allows for a more relaxed and controlled environment to work in.
Are there any other projects you are involved in that you’d like to share with us?
I wrote and published my first coffee table photo book last year that I am very proud of.
I self published it on Blurb where you can find it … http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1668754
It is the story of my journey in life and LA and it has lots of pictures of the people that have come through my studio over the years…