Posts Tagged: headshot

Kirsten Nelson: not just a headshot

For many working actors, the headshot can become outdated before you know it. Kirsten knew she needed that one basic look, but I wanted to give her more.

We discussed ways that we could maximize time and give her a variety of looks that she could use beyond the standard headshot… to be used for editorial as well.

We opted for

  1. Casual & Classic: A natural light white and wood background were the perfect accompaniment to her denim look (tech notes: natural light with fill from strobes & bounce card)
  2. Dark and sensual: Giving her a darker edge, the single light and darker color schemes help accentuate a different side.
  3. Pop of Commercial Color: Kirsten ended up having 2 outfits that we couldn’t decide between… so we shot both. (tech notes: By keeping the lighting the same, we could change out backdrop and wardrobe and create two different looks.)
  4. BONUS! Kirsten is such an easy-going person, that also knows her body in relation to the camera, so we had time for one more. This time, I had her bring whatever crazy props/wardrobe/ideas she could think of, and I’d roll with it and make something on the fly… thus “No Regrets” was made.



  • Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
    Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
  • Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
    Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
  • Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
    Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
  • Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
    Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
  • Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
    Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
  • NO REGRETS Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
    NO REGRETS Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena

Creative Collision

How do you capture a creative soul that spins in many directions?

Making creative, conceptual portraits (and a headshot) for Bob Dassie was precisely that challenge. He’s a writer, an actor, an improv performer, and a true family man.

After brainstorming several different concepts, we struck upon two that resonated.


Modern Man:

depicting the many facets of Bob’s selves (is that a word?) through a composited image of wardrobe, changes, props and expressions.BOB DASSIE

The Writing Process: 

This image represents pieces of the writing process as one image: 1) writing can be messy and sometimes you just feel like you’re throng things out, hoping something will stick 2) It can feel precarious and down-right scary to put your work out there for everyone to judge. 3) Bob wanted to remind us that you need to stay “grounded” as you compose. It’s literal here, but figurative in meaning.


And lest you feel Bob doesn’t have  a serious side…


I like to take headshots because you have a chance to help actors feel good in their own skin, but I love to shoot creative portraits because we allow more than just the person to do the talking. We create a story that brings people in and, hopefully, makes them want to know more.


And maybe I just wanted Bob to have to keep grabbing handfuls of tomato soup & alphabet noodles.



Don’t forget to check out Bob Dassie and his equally talented wife, Stephanie Weir, in their hilarious web series, Eleven Year Itch. Directed by our very own Ric Serena. My teeny tiny addition: I shot the title cards, which were then made beautiful and interesting through the talents of Chris Kneller. (And they could probably use me as a laugh track, because no matter how many times I watch them, I still laugh.)


A little more behind the scenes tidbits…

1)    I had 3 large plastic shower curtains positioned to protect me and the studio from flinging alphabet pasta.

2)   Those are Isola’s sweet hands in Modern Man.

3)   Please be careful when using rat traps in your shoots.


Photographing other artists both amazes and inspires me.

It happened again when shooting composer Tony Morales in Los Angeles. He’s humble and curious, crazy-talented and just an incredibly nice guy.

You’ve heard his work in films like Now You See MeIron Man 3, Hatfields & McCoys, and The Bag Man to name a few.

As a music photographer, this shoot gave me the opportunity to let people see the face behind the talent. We shot on-location at his studio and surroundings, and created some standard headshots, creative portraits and an awesome

conceptual photograph that shows all the roles Tony plays in his work.

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