I was directing a Sondheim musical, Company. I brought a camera to rehearsals to document the way scenes looked. I also shot candids of the actors, sometimes action shots of them acting. An actor started using one of the candids as a headshot, and I have been shooting actors headshots ever since - over twenty years now. My photographs have appeared in Playbills, the New York Times, Time Out New York, and New York Magazine.
Cameras have been a part of life since I was a little kid - I used to borrow my dad's Canon F1, and he let me turn the bathroom into a darkroom. And I've always had a knack for portraiture. I've shot literally everything - I worked for a newspaper chain as head photog - but my best stuff always featured people.
Very few photographers have my background in acting and directing, and fewer still have my experience in actually dealing with agents and casting people from all angles, getting kids through college auditions, knowing the particularities of opera and classical music.
I've directed 70+ straight plays, musicals, and operas for everything from high schools to off b-way to regionally. I've taught acting at college level and coached professional actors and students on monologues, scenes, film sides, general acting technique. I've helped people get roles, get into colleges, land agents... and in some cases I've coached them and did their headshots.
My wife is a professional opera singer, my daughter an Equity actress in Chicago, my son studying acting right now. I have been through the entire college audition rejection / acceptance journey a number of times, with my own children as well as students.
People talk of headshots "styles," or headshots being art. I completely disagree with that thinking. A headshot is a picture of a person and you're not suppose to notice a style or that it is a great "picture." It's selling a person. It's not a beautiful picture. It's a picture of the particular beauty of a particular person.
A great headshot changes everything. A great headshot lets an actor walk into an audition feeling confident. A great headshot is something that challenges you to live up to what you dream of being. It pulls you forward and it kicks your ass, and hopefully it gets you in the door so you can get the gig.