We asked Marc Cartwright 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 themselves, their acting, their type (realistically) and their MARKETING. Marketing is the NUMBER ONE element in any successful business endeavor that surprisingly, I find actors don’t pay enough attention to. Every successful actor has a niche or a “way of being” that they are known for. The characters may change but there is always an underlying theme to the roles that they portray. Sure, there are instances when an actor breaks out of that for a role, but usually that is once they are established. What working actors are your competition? What target groups relate to you?
How would you describe your approach to shooting headshots?
Organic. I think every client is different. I like to direct, but sometimes a client is better when they are creating the moment. I like to get a sense of a person when they walk into my studio and taylor the experience around the vibe they are giving off.
If you could photograph one actor, who would it be and why?
There are so many people that I would love to photograph. Vanity Fair is one of my favorite magazines and the idea of photographing actors has always been an interest of mine.
For fun, Faye Dunnaway. I find her fascinating.
Describe your Best experience with a client. No names please.
It’s hard to name one. As I said, each experience is different so I get so much from my clients just by interacting with them. I get to learn about different personalities and challenge myself. I would say that my best experiences are when the client has extensively done their marketing homework. They know what they want, they know who they are, what sort of acting they like to do.
Describe your Worst experience with a client. No names please.
My worst experience was with a client that came to the shoot drunk / hung over after a night out. That instantly told me that the person didn’t take my or their time and career seriously.
Describe your Strangest experience with a client. No names please.
Sometimes stage moms make for quite interesting experiences. 🙂
What is your favorite movie?
A film from 1927 called Metropolis. It was one of the first commercial sci-fi films. It is amazing what this film accomplished without computers and digital special effects.
What sets you apart from other photographers?
I enjoy the psychology of people. I am looking to capture the story behind a persons eyes. I think a lot of photographers take headshots because they think it’s an easy way to make money. I enjoy knowing that my pictures are helping the lives and careers of each client. I like to learn something from each client. I look for it. And it shows in my photographs and the number of agents, managers and actors that call me after the fact to tell me how much more they are auditioning. The best feeling in the world is when my client books something major and they call to me you that it was my headshot that got them in the door.
Are there any other projects you are involved in that you’d like to share with us?
My goal is to photograph for Vanity Fair. I am always expanding my library of images and establishing relationships with exciting new and seasoned talent. This month I did a piece for Marie Claire of Shailene Woodley (Secret Life of the American Teenager).
I would also like to do a show of my editorial work in the near future. I will keep you posted when that happens.