Category Archive: Photography

  1. supporting local businesses

    Your Local Photographer!

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    I’ll be honest in this blog. As your local photographer in Downers Grove, Illinois, it’s not easy. I’m building a small-business and it’s a slow process, but it would be much slower and near impossible without local support. Continue Reading

  2. Backstage Account Tips

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    Backstage.Com is can be a powerful resource for actors trying to keep busy in the competitive entertainment industry. This post is an expert from an article on referencing backstage account tips that can lead to better profile presence. Continue Reading

  3. Business Highlight: Holly O’Donnell

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    Welcome to the Business Highlight: Vol. 1! These blogs are designed to shine a spotlight on businesses who’ve been my headshot clients, and to talk more about you and what you thought of my headshot photography. We will update our blogs periodically to talk more about different businesses big and small, and what your experiences are like in the field you’re working in, or the business you’ve built. Please, enjoy! Continue Reading

  4. New Year New You: January 25th Headshot Event!

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    Hit the ground running in 2019! Get shiny, new headshots at my upcoming event happening January 25th! 

    This event is meant for those who may be new to professional headshots, or those who are looking to rebrand in the new year. It can be tough to prioritize new headshots but not having properly updated ones can hold you back, especially if you don’t get it out of the way early on. You’ll hear about the importance of professional photos anywhere, even if you’re not a business owner any professional has an upper hand in any industry with the right headshot, especially when first impressions matter so much. More often than not, in this digital age, you have one chance to impress even before you meet someone face to face. This is why personal branding matters so much, and 2019 is all about how you brand yourself. It may sound like complicated but this is why I’ve set this all day event to get you in and out the door with great new photos!

    This stress free sessions gets you 20 minutes and 2 high resolution photos for just $150 per session.

    Location: 5021 Fairview Avenue, Downers Grove, IL. 60515

    Book your slot by emailing:




  5. Future Professionals From College of DuPage

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    There’s nothing more daunting than taking the risk to start your own business, even more so for students who are still learning the ins and outs of their craft. One can feel quite far from the previous experiences of beginners when looking in comparison to experiences built now.

    I was recently invited for the second time to College of DuPage by professor Miles Boone who teaches in the photography department. I had taken many classes at CoD and I was happy to be back to talk to the students. As a full-time real-estate photographer and headshot photographer, I spoke about my journey to become my own boss. It’s not easy and requires not only a lot of discipline, but a lot of things that don’t seem so obvious. A lot of nuances go into building yourself and your brand! It takes more than just understanding yourself and how you work, which is tough in and of itself. While on this journey of building my brand and business, I realize it’s also a journey of self-discovery. While I reflect on the steps I took to be where I am and become who I am, I took an initiative to know more about the people I take photos for. While this interview is about me and my personal experiences, I took this format as a way to dive more into the businesses/groups/organization whom I photograph. I’ve started asking for more information about my models because, it’s one thing to get to know your clients from behind the camera, it’s a totally different experiences to get to know them without the camera.

    It was an honor being able to come back and talk to the students. my favorite part was being able to connect with them because I’ve been in their shoes and it made me realize how far I’d gotten, how every year I’ve gotten more and more confident in who I was as a photographer and as a business owner. The biggest takeaway that I want the students to remember is that, show up! Whether it’s meet-ups, workshop or gallery exhibition, show up and make connections. Practice your craft but don’t forget the photographing is just one part of running your business. Understanding your industry and your competitors are vital, make sure to surround yourself with other business professionals. At the end of the day I’m just so excited for the journey that these young professionals are about to go on.

    Major thanks to the College of DuPage Photography Department for everything that they do! To learn more about their program visit their page:

  6. Communicating With a Photographer

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    We all know that the key to every relationship is communication. The relationship between actor and headshot photographer is no different. Through the magic of websites, social media, and reviews, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of what you’re signing up for with a photographer. Ideally, you’ll find someone whose work you love and who you mesh with in style and personality. Here are a few suggestions to get started on the right foot when communicating with a photographer.

    Talk in pictures.
    Photographers tend to be entirely visual so communicating with a photographer visual will lead to a clearer level of communication. If you’re aiming for a particular style, character, or feeling that you’re trying to convey, show us in images what you’re looking for. Words are sloppy and mean different things to different people. I once had an actor tell me that she wanted a headshot that was “sexy, powerful, vulnerable, and commercial, all in one shot!” I smiled and said, “Show me.” She pointed to a photo on my website and I instantly understood everything she had just said.
    You can send photos from a photographer’s website or from anywhere else to explain what it is in an image you want to capture. Sometimes it’s a particular lighting style, etc., but more often, it’s the feeling of the character they’re after.
    Who would you play on TV?
    Know the character types you want to portray in your headshots. Are you a leading man? The best friend? A young mother? The bad boy? Knowing your type helps your headshot team style and coach you through your session to nail those archetypes. When communicating with a photographer, it helps us narrow in even more if you can tell us what characters on TV or in movies you see yourself playing. Are you a Joey on “Friends” or a Sophia on “Modern Family”? Use these well-known characters to help us understand the roles you’ve been going out for or hope to go out for.

    Know how you communicate best. 
    I find that most people prefer electronic communication via email and/or text. If you feel like you get a good feeling from a photographer from their website or have friends who’ve given you a glowing account of ease and style with someone, email works perfectly. If you want a clearer picture or want to describe something that texting just won’t cover, pick up the phone. You can get a lot from a telephone conversation. I’m happy to talk to any prospective client to explain what to expect from my team. I also often have my studio manager talk to them because he’s a working actor who understands what a fellow actor is going through in their pursuit of the perfect headshot. If you’re communicating with a photographer and you’re not feeling like you’re on the same page in that conversation, you can expect it to feel like that through the entire process.
    What happens when communication breaks down? 
    If you see your headshots and they’re not what you were expecting/you wouldn’t be comfortable handing one to a casting director, try to articulate exactly why to your photographer. Saying, “I just don’t like them,” doesn’t help them to understand what went wrong. If you both decide it’s something that could be corrected in another attempt, photographers will often offer a reshoot at a much-reduced price to nail it.
    You may find yourself in a situation where you feel that you’re at an impasse and further collaboration will not result in success. Anyone who watches “Judge Judy” can tell you that if a hired professional does their job earnestly and to the agreed upon terms and you’re still not satisfied, do not expect a refund. Chalk it up to experience, decide how you can be more effective in your pursuit of the ideal headshot, and start over. This usually happens once in an actor’s career and hopefully, with some time to heal, it will be considered a life lesson and make a great story.

    Contact Martina Magnusson Photography today to schedule a session.