Headshots & Portraiture
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© Justin Ellis-Johnson Photography
Justin is a Los Angeles based Headshot & Portrait Photographer available worldwide. He shoots in various styles including high and low key lighting yet the most popular way of shooting is a 'Cinematic' style taken on location as if the image is taken from a cinematic movie or prime time TV show whilst directing you to make you look like a Celebrity.
Being a professional Actor himself, Justin is excellent at directing clients most effectively in order to create the most engaging, dynamic images possible, whether you are an Actor yourself looking to update your look/s or in business eg. as a Realtor, Executive or Business owner looking for professional headshots for marketing/promotional purposes or anyone for that matter in this day and age of social media or online dating where a strong image of themself can be extremely influential in their online presence. Justin shoots both digitally (for a faster workflow) and also sometimes with medium format & 35mm old school film cameras. He is also entering Commercial Portraiture at this point in time.
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Headshot session information
Your full satisfaction is Justin's priority.
Each look we shoot is itself its own Headshot Session. As many shots as needed per look will be taken within the time period till it's captured and then we'll move on to the next look. (Different looks can also be captured with the same items of clothing by adding or removing 'layers' too). There is no upper or lower limit to the amount of shots taken within the fixed time period- we'll shoot until we get what we want within the allotted time. The idea behind several looks (in terms of different wardrobe, hair styling, make-up, lighting, background and the variety of shots in end chosen for retouching/post processing) of course is to demonstrate range & versatility and to capture different aspects of who you are, and how you would like to represent yourself.
We never double book or overlap clients. It’s your time, all of Justin's attention will be on you. Since the shoot is usually on location, outdoors (usually in Bel Air, CA) and therefore weather dependant (though mostly not an issue in Los Angeles) when booking your session it's also best to negotiate a second backup date/time should weather or last minute inflexible important activities come up (such as big auditions) in both your and Justin's schedule) that prevent shooting on the primary date/time. If you have a specific space at your own location- indoors or out- that you would prefer to shoot in, let Justin know and that can be arranged where he will travel to you- this would be at a slightly higher price point that can be negotiated in advance.
Justin will give you clear direction and help you feel comfortable & confident to get what we’re both going for.
Clothing: It's best that the variety of clothing you bring has mostly solid colors- nothing with too ‘busy’ a pattern on them as a pattern will otherwise potentially distract from your face in the image, yet ultimately always bring clothes that you feel absolutely fantastic in.. Justin will consult with you on outfit choices from your clothing selection before your session begins on the day. This is a great time for him to get to know you, your goals & how these headshots will help you reach your goals, so he can know how to approach your shoot and choose which outfits you should wear.
Hair and Makeup: Good makeup and hair is an important piece of what makes a professional headshot look professional. If you know a Hair/Make up artist please feel free to hire/bring them to the shoot though please let Justin know this in advance if you are hiring someone. (Makeup Artists are artists, and like Photographers they must capture who you are, and present you in the best light). That said, outstanding images can still be created if you do this yourself. That is, present your hair as you would do it yourself for an audition for a Casting Director or Agent etc or as you would for an interview or just in general for a day on the street when you want to look your best (hair is so particular and you know how your hair best looks more than anyone else and have been styling your hair for some time at this point) and we want to keep it ‘real’ whilst congruent with the clothing you’ll be wearing for the specific look you’re after..Ideally if not hiring a make up artist, do your own make up in advance before arriving on location– whether male or female- less is more (we want you to look natural and real as this isn't meant to be a glamor shoot necessarily unless that's what you're after specifically). At the very least before the shoot, wash/clean your face and moisturize it before hand (to create a healthy ‘glow’ and aliveness to your skin) and after that ideally also use concealer to hide any blemishes and also use/bring 'anti shine' base makeup that is ideally not too powdery eg. Shiseido base (powder will reduce that glow and not make your skin too matte looking/less 'alive', when it’s more preferable to have a ‘dewy’ aliveness to the skin) or something that will minimize perspiration/too much shine on your face, particularly if it's a warm day. Makeup Artists keep their attention on you throughout your shoot, touching up and fixing stray hairs during the session though if not hired Justin will do his best to look out for this himself or remove them in post processing anyway. Makeup artists will often craft your hair into very different styles between looks which is great for demonstrating your range but not impossible to do by yourself either (eg. with ties and clips, if your hair is long or just with hair products). Either way, don’t arrive with too much product in your hair- you can always add product later, but harder to remove once in. Please note that most of the clients in my portfolio styled their own hair and did their own makeup without hiring a pro hair & makeup artist.
A private online image proofing gallery is created within 48-72 hours of your session for you to review (and share with your agent, manager or anyone else if applicable) from which you (and representative for example) can select & narrow down your 'favorites'. (Help in selecting shots after the shoot is available if needed).
Retouching/post processing will make your headshots 'pop' and stand out more, looking cleaner, sharper & stronger whilst still appearing natural. The difference between an unprocessed/unretouched 'straight out of camera' shot and a retouched/post processed shot is the difference between an 'average' and 'outstanding' shot respectively...
Retouching/post processing includes:
Emphasizing the eyes
Cleaning up your overall skin
Cleaning up the hairline
De-emphasizing wrinkles (though not losing them altogether to still look natural)
Removing bags under eyes and dark circles
Evening out skin shadows
Generally adjusting exposure/lighting, contrast, color saturation, sharpening levels and so much more in order to make the image really 'pop' most optimally
In 'acting' terminology- raw unretouched images are like the 'audition' or 'rehearsal'- the edited/retouched/post processed images are like the final, greatest 'performance' or the final cut of the movie with the music score etc included distributed and screened around the world. It is only recommended to only ever publish final, fully post processed images publicly (anywhere online or print) as these will make both you and Justin look your best, after all no one really wants their 'rehearsals' or 'auditions' shown to the public - only your best 'take' & performance, right? The straight out of camera images are an unfinished, incomplete product. Low resolution, watermarked preview images in your proofing gallery post shoot are unprocessed and so are considered 'rehearsals' also, especially at the lower resolution and again is not recommended that you post these low res, unretouched 'rehearsals' publicly. Most photographers only spend about 15 minutes, quite minimally post processing an individual image- Justin spends up to an hour post processing each individual image and thus the value you gain from post processing with Justin is very high, ensuring every shot processed is worked to the highest standard for maximum impact, whilst still keeping the image of you looking natural and real.. Retouching/full post processing is essential to ensure that you have the best chances possible to get called in for as many projects as possible as an actor and/or for maximum return on your investment whatever purpose the images are for.
The most popular package offered is the 'Unlimited Looks' package for $400. This includes shooting over a 90 minute period during which you can make as many changes/looks as you wish in that time- virtually unlimited & you will be left with the 'quality problem' of having too many great shots to choose between various looks. The price includes up to two complimentary fully retouched/post processed, high resolution images of your choosing after the shoot, delivered electronically. Any further selected images you wish to have in high resolution and fully retouched (beyond the two complimentary retouches) will be $35/image. Other options may be negotiable by inquiry. Please note that Returning Clients booking a second or more sessions in the future get a 12% discount off the of the base fee advertised here at the time of rebooking though additional retouches will remain the same price.
PLEASE NOTE In addition to the actual shooting time slot, the above base fee/s cover time spent pre-shoot in preparation- gear preparation/travel/gear set up/breakdown (a lot of lighting gear is used to get these looks) and post shoot, including packing up gear, travel & mostly after the shoot including going through the images from the shoot to narrow down the best of the best, creating the online proofing page for you, email communications and post processing the complimentary retouch/es- the total time spent usually is considerably more than three times the actual shooting time.
PS- If you want to capture the ‘dusk’/'twilight' edgy type of shots seen in my portfolio like this:
the 90 minute session would need to begin specifically 1 hour before sunset (to capture the twilight shots at the end of the shoot) but not absolutely necessary to get a decent variety of shots- and an 'edgy' look can still be captured earlier in the day too- it's just an option)
50% of the above fee is payable a minimum of 24 hours in advance of the shoot date/time and the balance is due once the shoot is over. (On paying the 50% deposit you will be sent a free special 'tips and guidelines' document which includes a couple of videos to watch and other info in order to make the most out of the shoot by being prepared as much in advance so you look your very best on the day- so it's best to pay your deposit as early as possible so that you have the time to go through the information in this document and practice some of the recommended techniques as well as secure your time slot- your time slot is not secured until the deposit is paid. Should the primary shoot date change (eg. due to weather) your deposit will still count towards the rescheduled date. Your deposit is fully refundable should the shoot end up not happening. (The only exception when the deposit is non refundable is if you do not turn up to the shoot on the scheduled time/day without at least 8 hours notice). Any further selected images you wish to have in high resolution and fully retouched/processed (beyond any mentioned complimentary retouches) will be $35/image fully payable in advance of retouching.
Please note further that for the purposes of maintaining a minimum standard across all published work (like most Photographers) no raw, 'straight out of camera', high resolution, unretouched images from the shoot are forwarded (in 'RAW' or 'JPEG' file formats) without first processing/retouching to Justin's preferred standards largely for the reasons mentioned in the paragraphs above. Since it is strongly discouraged from using unprocessed images professionally (since doing so is essentially displaying an incomplete/unfinished product to the public & is not ideal to spend hard earnt money on a session with a professional photographer and then not complete the process by not marketing yourself with the most polished versions from the session) if you absolutely must have the high resolution JPEG files from the shoot for whatever reason, only on special request, these can be electronically delivered (so long as you agree to never attempt to post them online after processing them yourself or with any other unapproved third party source including not adding any simple filters etc). However, since this adds to the workflow, an additional fee of $50 would need to be paid in advance in order for Justin to prepare and send those files to you. (The base fee is discounted for most people to benefit who don't want or need these extras). Having said that, most clients are more than satisfied with their favorite top picked shots alone processed by Justin and have no need for the rest of the images from the shoot as they already have the strongest images from the shoot, looking their very best already through Justin's post processing. Should you change your mind at a later time and want more images post processed from the shoot, all images from the shoot are stored safely on one of Justin’s external hardrives longer term (up to one w year) and can be re released at a future date (within that first year) should that be required.
Now that's covered, on the day come ready to have fun, play full out, and expand your horizons! Justin has had many clients call to say that the shots he took of them got them invited to auditions for Guest Starring roles on TV through to National Commercials which they ended up booking (the latter of course due to their talent, yet their initial calling card/invitation was largely due to their headshot)- so come excited, with faith expecting your own headshots to bring you magnificent opportunities too -even if your purpose of your shots is for online dating and finding the partner of your dreams or simply for having a strong presence online in social media! :)
Please contact Justin via email at or fill out the contact form below or otherwise call +1-310-929-0921 to discuss any further information, other packages, answer your questions or book a time slot.