Headshots by Vanie Poyey
Guest Blog by clients Virginia Tran and Stephanie Mazariego
One of the discounted packages I offer is called a “friend” session where you and a friend share a headshot session. This means that you both show up at the same time and essentially take turns with makeup and going in and out of different setups for different marketing looks we agree on. There are a few benefits to sharing a headshot session with a friend. The most obvious is the generous discount you both receive which is double the agency referral discount I offer to single sessions. Aside from that, sharing a session can be fun and helpful with successfully targeting your looks. Watching your friend work with your photographer can teach you what works and what doesn’t! The last friend session we did was with Virginia Tran and Stephanie Mazariego. They had so much fun that they wanted to share with you, in their own words, how the experience was helpful to them!
“First off, we’d like to thank Vanie and Tara both for such an all ‘round wonderful experience! Taking headshots can be such a daunting task, especially when you consider how many different options you have out there. That’s why this friend session really was so appealing to the both of us from the get go.
Virginia and I were fresh out of our Meisner training over at the Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio in Los Angeles and when you’re fresh out of an environment that is very tight knit and connected, you feel like you’re sent out into the world and it’s a very “do it yourself” kind of thing, like everything in life. But having the relief of that companionship from someone else that is going through the same thing you are makes it less of a solitary experience. Not to mention, more fun!
We were constantly sharing notes on the days leading up to the shoot. We compared phone interviews, look choices, type choices, clothing and accessory options, Vanie’s suggestions, strategized outfit and jewelry swaps, and convinced one another that it wasn’t nuts to bring our entire closets with us the day of the shoot (BEST idea ever, by the way). All of which helped quell the nerves of meeting someone new and of great repute that is about to attempt to capture the best version of you possible. Already the benefits of the friend session were manifesting themselves, as you are more inclined to be vulnerable and completely truthful with a friend than with a total stranger.
It’s like going shopping for clothes with friends. You know what you like and you know what you look like in the clothes you pick, but our own perceptions of ourselves are already skewed. Having that sounding board there (one you trust fully to be completely honest with you, no holds barred) helps give you that extra boost of confidence that you’re making the right decisions and not just ultra judging yourself OR cutting yourself too much slack.
Along the same lines, the whole process also invokes a good bit of friendly fun competition. Sorta like sibling rivalry, without the diary reading. If your friend sets the bar, it either pushes you to be just as good or BETTER, which in turn makes you friend want to do the same and so on until you’re both engaged in this cyclical loop of self-perpetuating BRILLIANCE! You help one another gain the confidence to set high enough standards for yourselves in order to really get the most out of your shots. Especially since you get to see them right then and there!
The instant gratification of seeing your pictures and showing them to the one person you were probably going to show them to first anyway is really awesome. It’s always great to have the pros give you suggestions and their very astute opinions, but having your number two there, whom you know and trust on a deeper level, really helps put your mind at ease. There is no “Damn, I should have changed directions there, huh?” or “I should have gone with the ghetto hoops instead of the gossip girl earrings for this look, right?” after-the-fact remorse. You see them, your number two sees them, and Vanie sees them and you get two great opinions right then and there.
And can we just talk about how having someone else there just flat out takes SO MUCH PRESSURE off? Because, let’s face it, as actors, seasoned or not, you’ve just enough nervosa to both want the attention and absolutely hate it at the same time. Having someone there to split that spotlight with you makes it easier to focus that nervous energy and turn it into something useful for the camera!
You have time to be alone without the pressure being on. One person shoots, one person changes. You get this break where you know that they’re not focusing on you right at the moment so you can ruminate on what you can do or change, what you can prep for, or to just plain tell those voices in your head to shut up and F O C U S, independent of the pressure of feeling like you’re wasting precious time. You basically get some you time to “go back to your trailer”, chat it up with Tara as she reapplies your face AND the luxury of a moment to be vain without thinking that everyone’s thinking you’re vain. WHAT?! How is that not a BONUS?
And it’s not just less pressure, really. It’s so very soothing to have your friend with you for moral support. You really start to side coach because you know your friend so well and can tell when the self-conscious monster starts to creep in. Having your own cheer squad not only eases that for the person being shot, it helps the cheerleader prep for their own shoot as well. The constant positive reinforcement from someone you know is about to go through the same thing you’re going through just plain helps ease the crazy.
And really, when it all comes down to it, having a friend there with you makes everything just SO much more fun! Vanie asks a series of questions in order to capture a moment or thought or emotion. When someone is there that really knows you, it’s almost like you can’t lie! So that helps the honesty of that moment shine through in the pictures. On the same page, you have this fun secret between the two of you that brings a whole other layer of emotionality visible for the lens to see. BAM! Instantly, you’ve set one another up for a whole series of unbelievably specific, truthful, and unique slice of life photos!
There was a moment when we were being shot outside and three different cars full of teenage-minded men drove by hooting and cat calling. By ourselves, we both agreed that that moment probably would have put us in our heads, made us nervous and self-conscious, thinking they were making fun of us somehow (yay, actor’s nervosa!). But having one another there brought about a supremely brilliant moment for Virginia, one of mischievous moxy and guile, which, in turn, inspired Vanie as well. Virginia raised her two fingers and yelled out “YOU’RE WELCOME” to the construction-worker-esque onslaught and pumped her full of attitude completely PERFECT for her edgy look shots.
Virginia and I have always felt so fortunate to get to do what we love and share that joy with one another time and time again in class. This photo session was no different. It was work, it was play, it was the joy of meeting new people and making new friends, ALL while having such a great time.
And the end result? An amazing shoot, amazing photos, and just another boss day kickin’ it with old friends and makin’ new ones!
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And here they are…Virginia and Stephanie!
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