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Q&A with Headshot 360 photographer, Daniel Spencer

We talked to Daniel at Turn & Shoot Photography about his revolutionary Headshot 360 concept

Daniel Spencer, Turn and Shoot Photography

Tell us a little bit about how you got into headshot photography?

Born and raised on tea, love and music in Chapeltown, Leeds. I  moved to London 10 years ago to pursue my passion of becoming a full time self employed professional photographer and in my spare time to write and produce music. I love everything about headshot photography. It’s the 1 on 1 time I get with people. To learn and to share stories, to keep a little piece of history from everybody I spend time with.

How did you come up with the idea of a Headshot 360 for actors?

It was a mixture of things. Like hearing so many actors say, “at the casting, they just told me to turn left and right”. Plus after numerous bits of research it got really exciting when I entered a competition online to win all of the technology and equipment I needed to make this happen.. 1 week later I received an email saying I had WON!


What are the main advantages of being able to spin an actors headshot?

The main advantage of the Headshot 360 is that casting directors and agents get to see what the actor really looks like before getting them into a casting. Also I really wanted to improve upon techniques of lighting people correctly to show actors headshots as a more dynamic face. The Headshot 360 gives an added advantage to show another side of an actor too. A personality behind the face. I know sitting in front of the camera can be really tough for some people when they have to be still, or smile on request. This 360 way of shooting gives you a natural cue. Actors have the advantage of showing their side profiles too, which I know is a request at most castings.


Do you think that Headshot 360 can replace standard portraits on casting websites like CCP?

I hope not! I wouldn’t ever want to replace the standard headshot. I think this is a perfect addition to it though. 360 provides employers with a more ‘real’ image of what you look like in person, with a fully interactive view of you from all sides. The Headshot 360 has always been a partnered vision.


How do you see Headshot 360 impacting the online casting process?

It’s simple and a new innovation on actor headshots. It’s a tool that can save time and money for both casting agent and director, the person filming and most importantly, the actors. In this day and age, we live and work online, we view what we want and buy it. If an employer can look at the 360 and say, “That’s the one!”.. I’ve done my job. Headshot 360 is the first of it’s kind. It’s about the real you, no gimmicks, it’s about adding another dimension to your online profile and showing who you really are.


How do you see your professional headshot photographer job evolving?

I love technology and innovation so I’ll always look for ways to introduce that somehow in my photography. I’ve learned a lot from this already. Strangely enough, more about posture than I thought I would.


What sort of reaction and feedback have you had since launching Headshot 360?

When I started my research, there was a pretty stubborn “we don’t like change” vibe and I saw that many have tried and failed with ideas. There have been moving headshots that pan like a small showreel video or intros etc. whereas the Headshot 360 is more interactive. You use your thumbs to rotate an untouched ‘real’ 3D image of an actor headshot which takes seconds. Most are really shocked the person rotates and others get it instantly and appreciate it. Michael Wharley, a photographer gave me a very honest review that asked questions and I appreciate that. The early adopters of this modern ‘spin’ on the actor headshot are, I’m delighted to hear...getting great feedback from the industry on their 360. Plus CCP have heard from top casting directors including Manuel Puro and Martin Gibbons plus many agents all voicing the 360 Headshot as a welcome tool to aid the challenge of casting actors online.


How should an actor prepare for a 360 compared to a normal headshot session?

It’s really so much easier than typical headshots. The short session literally involves, turn up, sit down, and smile for 5 seconds. This is a REAL YOU situation. I just want to capture that person that is going to walk into that audition. It’s very chilled and I like to think fun!


What’s next for Headshot 360? 

I have a few ideas for improving this. For starters I want to make it much more accessible for CCP members and agents in the UK. I'm already taking 360 to Manchester for a weekend shoot on the 5th-6th March. This event offers more actors the chance to book a session without the added time and expense of travelling to London. There is also a distinct and very real potential to roll this out across the Blue Compass network and make the feature available to kids, dancers, singers and other performing artists and members in the future, which is very exciting indeed.


Headshot 360 is now available for Casting Call Pro members. To book your session, contact Daniel via www.turnandshoot.com

Photograph: KIKE PHOTOGRAPHY