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guest post: Britt Olsen-Ecker on Photography Part II

July 23, 2010

While the Sybaritic Singer goes on vacation to the land of sun and gluten allergies, she asked a few magnanimous colleagues to write about their skills and passions.

BOE Photography

For a series on headshots, I bring you…Britt Olsen-Ecker, a real-time renaissance woman. She performs classical music and stage plays with authenticity, photographs headshots with serious panache, and does it all with a heaping helping of humor.

Like most photographers, Britt has seen everything. Behind her Nikon D5000 Digital SLR Camera she is a force to be reckoned with. Whether it is Oscar reporting, a national book launch event, or her very sexy boudoir series she thinks one thing is always in style: a smile. She writes, “everyone is beautiful when they smile. Unless they have no teeth. Even still, there is something beautiful in that.”

With that, I turn it over to Britt, with some tips on making you the most beautiful.

Photographer, check. Date, check. Now, what the hell do I wear?


Ladies: show me your boobs.

This is where I ditch my feminist side for a bit and get honest. Show a little skin. V neck shirts. The reality is that there are still a lot of male directors out there, and they like boobs.

For outfits, I suggest dark against light skin, and vice versa. What makes your skin pop?

Men: think suave and sophisticated. (Ladies, you too.)

I always tell my male clients to “look sharp.” Sometimes, they still don’t know what that means. If you are still scratching your head up until the shoot, bring options. It is best to let the photographer decide.

Also. Matching. Go outside. The natural light will determine that your blacks may not match, or that you’re pairing a navy shirt with black pants.

Look how you will go into an audition.


For those of you with instruments, bring what you are auditioning with. I once had a client that brought about 8 different instruments and wanted them all included in their shoot. It was a little overwhelming – so stick to 2 at max. Also, is everything in place? Your mouthpiece screwed on, your bow hairs tightened? I am a singer. I don’t know anything about instruments. I can tell if a button is missing on your shirt.


Ladies, ladies, ladies. Getting your headshots done does not mean you need to slather on the stage makeup. Keep it natural and fresh.

Zit? Photoshop is a beautiful thing.


Jewelry is always a debate. Again, keep it simple. Small studs and a simple necklace if you’d like. We do not want to look at the picture and say, “what a nice necklace!” We want to say, “what a beautiful woman.”


Emily Sanchez, Soprano

Keep your hair down! Obviously, if you have short hair, you can’t do anything about it. Half up, half down is also another option. No buns. You’re not a schoolteacher.

Men: no GEL. No grease. Getting your head shots done does not mean its time to experiment with gel. No no no, please no. I will make you stick your head under the sink.


Men, if you have one, great. Trim it; make it look nice. Some guys think they look too much like a baby if they don’t grow out a little bit of scruff. Let the photographer decide for you – we don’t want grungy.

Alas, if you cut yourself, that’s ok. Photoshop, people.

What kind of poses should I do?

Smiling – absolutely necessary.

Tim Rosser

Not smiling – you’ll want a few of these.

Severe – usually not a winner, but you never know.

Laughing – yes… it’s forced… but an option.

“Headshot” – Hi, My name is (Blank), hire me.

¾ body – it must be done.

Full body – we’re a looks-based industry. Sad reality, but true.

We only have one more post in our headshots series with Britt Olsen-Ecker. For more information about Britt check her out on myspace and her blog. What was your most recent headshot experience like? Do you have a favorite pose? Have you figured out your good side? Do you channel America’s Next Top Model, like I do, when taking photos? Leave a comment below and let us know where we can see your headshots!

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