How can I contact you to ask a question or to make an appointment?

Email is best: ariscottphoto@gmail.com.

Where are you located? 

NYC (upper west side, near Columbia University).

When are you available?

As of now, every day with some exceptions. I prefer to photograph in early to mid afternoon for the best light.

How long does a headshots session take?

Less than an hour to two hours.

How many photos do you take?

A lot. I delete the bad ones along the way and only give you the good ones. 

Can I see what the photos look like as you're taking them?

Yes! If you want, I will show you some of them on my camera as we go. I like to do that so I can give pointers about posture and expression, so people know what they look like and make sure their hair is how they want it, etc.

What should I bring?

Several different tops/shirts, depending on how many looks you want. It's fine if you'd like some photos with different pants or skirts although I focus mostly on waist-up and chest-up photos. 

Bring whatever makeup and hair products you would use to prepare yourself for an audition, especially lip balm to avoid dry lips. You want to look polished and professional but not overly glamorous. I've heard it said that "you want to look like you on your best day." 

I recommend using a makeup artist if you're not used to doing your makeup all the time for auditions. Right now I can recommend Michelle Jack, who I have worked with and is not only talented, but relaxed, nice, and a cool all-around gal. If you’re interested, I can see when Michelle is available and we can work out the schedule from there.

What kind of clothing is best?

Bring what you like and feel good in. Colors that tend to look good on everyone are blues, greens, grays. Muted and jewel tones work well for just about everyone. Bright colors can work too – what matters is that you like it and feel good in it! Black is a nice dramatic option. Prints are fine. Take a look at the headshots on my site for ideas. If you look great in it and feel great in it, bring it! We can always decide once you try it on. 

Women: V-necks, scoop necks and boat necks are good. Some skin below the neck can be flattering. Texture (ruffles, lace, folds, etc.) is nice as long as it's not too distracting.

Men: I recommend any combination of t-shirts, button-down shirts, sweaters, hoodie, jacket and tie or anything that makes you comfortable. Obviously, if you never wear a hoodie and it's not "you," don't go out and buy one for the shoot. Think about how you want to represent yourself and wear what you like.

I have facial hair. Should I shave first?

It's your call. If you normally have a beard and go to auditions with a beard, then by all means, you should have a beard in your headshots. If you're normally clean-shaven, then you should be clean-shaven for the shoot. You can also shave halfway through the session.

I wear glasses. Should I wear them for my headshots?

I recommend shooting some with and some without. If you normally wear glasses, then we should take mostly glasses photos, and vice versa.

If you are able to pop out your lenses, it will eliminate glare and make it much easier for me to focus on your eyes. If you can't pop them out, we can work around any glare.

Can I make a silly face?

Please do! And if you don't do it on your own naturally, I will probably get you to make a silly face at some point (see my "Fun Pics"). It loosens people up (both mentally and physically), and makes them smile and relax. And I can delete it right away if you hate it. But you won't hate it.

How did you get your start in photography?

I've loved to document things through photography since I was a kid. I've always had some type of camera. Prior to 2007, I had a point-and-shoot that I would take with me everywhere, but I hated how little control I had over the photos. In April 2007, I bought a slightly-used DSLR from a friend and just experimented for about a year. I was mostly taking pictures of improv shows at the time for fun. I didn't intend to do it for a living – I just enjoyed it. As a student at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, I was there all the time with my camera. Performers and students started asking me for headshots, and it took off from there.

Since then, I've taken headshots of hundreds of actors and comedians from all over NYC. I've also taken headshots in Washington, D.C., Burlington, VT, and Los Angeles.

Can I meet with you beforehand to talk to you in person?

Sure. Phone or Skype also works.

Do you ever postpone an appointment due to weather?

I think I've done this only a few times in 10 years due to extremely dark storm clouds (in New York, not L.A.). Generally, if it's overcast, it's fine. Any slight changes that occur due to sunlight and clouds are adjusted with my camera as we go.

Do you retouch photos?

Yes, absolutely. I would like to retouch any photo that gets put online, printed, or released. I'm a gentle but detailed retoucher – I will spend as much time as I need to in order to get it right, but I never want it to look fake, plastic, or overly glamorous. I want it to look real and natural, yet polished. Like you on a great day.

How do I get my headshots printed?

I highly recommend Reproductions for headshot printing. They've been doing it for a long time and most of my clients in New York have used them. Visit their site to decide which package is right for you. If you're just starting out, I recommend getting the minimum of 50 prints.

If you'd prefer fewer than 50 prints for the time being, I recommend going to a place like Kinko's or CVS. If you do, I can email you copies with a border and your name at no extra cost.

I've heard casting people talk about "type." What is that?

An overall note, especially for those looking to do commercial work: it's helpful to know your "type" (typical kind of role you'd book based on your appearance) before you get headshots taken. Watch commercials and think about which roles you would get cast in based on your appearance. I'm not saying every piece of clothing you bring should fit into one type of personality, but it's something to consider when choosing clothing.

If you're just starting out, considering your type might be difficult to do by yourself. If you're new to auditioning, I recommend taking a commercial course and getting input from casting directors and agents. 

I've actually taken a couple of commercials courses myself, as well as many classes at UCB Theatre. I've auditioned for commercials, too, although I stopped doing that years ago when I realized I hated it. I am more than happy to share my own experiences and advice with you! 

What equipment do you use for headshots?

A Nikon D810 with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens. Formerly: D300s and D50.

Have you ever had your headshot taken?

Yes, a few times. I think this is part of what makes me a considerate photographer. I know how you feel. It can be weird to have a camera pointed at your face by someone you don't know. I want you to be comfortable. That's my main goal.

Will you show me your awkward black & white headshot from 1997?

Yes.

ABOUT ME   I'm a photographer and writer. I've been taking headshots for actors, comedians, and artists since 2007.  I moved to NYC initially to pursue a career in music. In 2005, I took a break from music and began taking improv classes at UCB Theatre. I bought my first DSLR camera in 2007 and began shooting comedy shows at UCB for fun. Performers started asking me for headshots and I kept saying yes. Word spread, and eventually I was doing it all the time. I'm still on my break from music.

ABOUT ME

I'm a photographer and writer. I've been taking headshots for actors, comedians, and artists since 2007.

I moved to NYC initially to pursue a career in music. In 2005, I took a break from music and began taking improv classes at UCB Theatre. I bought my first DSLR camera in 2007 and began shooting comedy shows at UCB for fun. Performers started asking me for headshots and I kept saying yes. Word spread, and eventually I was doing it all the time. I'm still on my break from music.