You Look like an Actor or model - A Random Connection With a Stranger / by Christian Webb

Meet Doug.

As a headshot photographer,  I tend to look at the faces of people I  find interesting and/or good looking.  Both women and men.  It’s just what I do.   I speculate as to whether someone is an actor, a model or both.  I sometimes see people and think howI’d LOVE to photograph them. So, not too long ago, while  at my local Trader Joe’s, I'm ready to check out and this 6’5” fifty something year old gentleman guides me to his register which was just opening.  Now being 6’5” myself,  I tend to notice other tall people.  This guy though looked as if he just stepped out of a GQ issue featuring mature, smooth dudes.  Or some type of prescription drug commercial or something.  He just had that…look.  I figured, he must have been a model/actor probably back in the day.  Who knows.  I definitely thought to myself  “wow, be great to shoot that guy!”  Speaking of actors at Trader Joe's,  about a year ago, I was making small talk with a different cashier that I was familiar with.  On that day though, I found out she was an aspiring actress.  Of course, I explained what I did for a living and gave her my card.  We've spoken a few times about her headshots but she hasn't scheduled yet as time and travel have had her wrapped up. 

Moving right along.  A few weeks back, I get a call from a guy named Doug.  Normal call from someone inquiring about headshots.  He and his fiancée talk to me about wanting  to take pics and maybe get into modeling and or commercial print/television.  He had no clue what to do  or where to begin.  It was really his fiancée that initiated the whole thing and wanted to pursue everything.  She was convinced he could be and should be doing something with his height and looks.   After a discussion about how the business works and what he needed photography wise and explaining what it is I do specifically….we settled on shooting his headshot and maybe setting up a commercial, lifestyle type of shoot another time.

A week later, we spoke to shore up the details and schedule his shoot.  During this discussion,  his fiancée was speaking more about his look and she mentioned how tall he was and that he had white hair and all.  He then speaks of his co-worker at  Trader Joe's and how she gave him my info.  Then, suddenly…it hit me.  At that moment I finally put 2 and 2 together and realized exactly who I was speaking to.  It was the white haired smooth gentleman cashier.   I explained the whole story about how I had wondered in my mind if he actually did model or act at some time and we all had a good laugh at the randomness of the whole thing.

A natural pro! (him, not me! ) 

So, we scheduled and I shot him this past weekend.  Even though he had zero experience and was a bit uncomfortable at the start,  after some coaching and explaining what we needed to get,  he settled in and pretty much knocked it out of the park.   

Tell me this guy isn't getting cast for a WHOLE bunch of stuff!

The best part of this story for me, beside the sort of…serendipity of it all…is that I offered to try and get him an agent through my connects.  Sure enough,  I submitted a few photos from his shoot to my contact at an agency in NY.   She got back to me right away and now he’s scheduled to meet with them in a few days!   I recently wrote on my Facebook page about people sometimes thinking that as photographers,  we’re not “saving lives” or having any “real impact” on the world.  I spoke about how I like to think that what I do as a headshot photographer definitely has impact on my clients and their careers.   Most likely the agency is going to sign Doug.  From there….who knows.   We have no idea.  I’d like to think though, that in some way, if this all turns out positive and he finds some true calling or even just has some fun for a while,  I had some type of impact on someone’s life in a meaningful way.  Hey, you never know! 

UPDATE:  Last week, June 25th and 26th 2016,  after being signed to an agent for only a few weeks....Doug booked his first job.  He's playing a medical doctor in a pharmaceutical ad!  This is only the beginning. Not bad for a guy with no experience ever!