Theatrical Headshot Triptych

Headshots aren’t what they used to be – black and white, 8×10, printed on glossy photo paper and handed out at auditions. Technology has changed all of that.

Nowadays, a headshot can come in a variety of formats, sizes and genres. There’s the classic black and white 8×10 – or 5×7. Or the color 8×10. Or the four-shot composite – B&W or color – with one large image and three others to either show the “off-duty” actor and three character shots OR a three or four image composite to show a bit of the actor’s range.

The printed headshot is approaching dinosaur status. Yes, they’re still used like business cards – sometimes with an actor’s resume on the reverse. But most times now, a headshot or headshot composite is an electronic document submitted via e-mail or online.

The important thing is that performers have SOMEthing to submit. And I don’t mean images captured with an iPhone or an Android. Not because they’re captured with a smartphone camera – there is no argument that camera phones are getting better and better all the time. As a photographer, I welcome that. The stuff I’ve been able to capture on my iPhone 6plus is phenomenal. And that’s a good thing.

What I’m talking about is the operator. Equipment is equipment. A professional image you’re relying on to get you roles – a.k.a. business – still has to be captured properly. A crappy image is a crappy image no matter how expensive or complicated the camera you use for the capture. If you don’t know how to light it, how to compose it, how to process it after the shoot – then the result will suffer. That’s where a photography pro comes in.

The triptych image above is but one form for submitting a headshot to prospective theatrical decision-makers. There’s probably no wrong format. But whatever format you choose, the pics had better be good. That’s your edge. That’s what will set an actor apart from the rest. Not the configuration, but good images that reveal you – coaxed by a patient photographer during the shoot, lit properly and processed in the digital darkroom to accentuate your best features.

If you like, you can leave it to chance and use your phone. Or you can make a small investment in your career and let a pro help you. It’s your choice.




Lincoln in Ohio’s Rotunda: ‘ … very much like the critter.’

Bust of Abe Lincoln, part of the “Lincoln and Solders’ Monument” in the Ohio Statehouse Rotunda.

The Rotunda of the Ohio Statehouse features Abraham Lincoln atop Cincinnati sculptor Thomas Dow Jones’ “Lincoln and Solders’ Monument,” which also depicts the Confederate surrender at Vicksburg in marble relief.

Vicksburg held significance for Ohio in that it was a major Union victory, won under the direction of three Ohio generals – Gens. Ulysses S. Grant, William Sherman and James McPherson.

Jones completed the full sculpture in 1871.

The white Carara marble bust of Abraham Lincoln is one of only five statues that the 16th U.S. President sat for in his lifetime.

Jones asked Lincoln what he thought of the likeness. Lincoln replied, “I think it looks very much like the critter.”


Birdhouse in the Wild Garden, Stan Hywet Hall

Birdhouse, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, Akron, Ohio.

Birdhouse, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, Akron, Ohio.

I shot this on a fall day back in the autumn of 2012 at the famed Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, in Akron. The grounds of this former estate of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. founder F.A. Seiberling are filled with a wide variety of floral life.

Seiberling made his fortune in the rubber business, helping to put Akron, Ohio, on the map as the rubber capital of the world. Seiberling and his brother could’ve named their company after themselves; after all, that’s what so many entrepreneurs do. Instead, they named the company for Charles Goodyear, the man who basically is responsible for the entire rubber industry; Goodyear himself invented the process for the vulcanization of rubber.

Designed by Charles Schneider, the 64,500-foot Manor House was built between 1912 and 1915. Surely the Seiberlings and their guests kept plenty warm during Northeast Ohio’s chilly winters – the home boasts 23 fireplaces.

When the Seiberlings bought the property  for the site of their new home, much of it was a stone quarry – whose Olde English translation, by the way, is Stan Hywet. The place with the historic name would go on the host historic moments, too.

A long list of celebrities slept there, the likes of Will Rogers and Shirley Temple, house guests who entertained in the music room, which featured a 2,650-pipe Aeolian Organ. The Gate Lodge is where Bill W. and Dr. Bob were introduced and formulated plans for what eventually became Alcoholics Anonymous.

The gardens were designed by famed American landscape architect Warren Manning, who studied under Frederick Law Olmsted. Some of the more famous projects the young Manning worked on are the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition and John Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate, in Asheville, N.C.

One of Olmsted’s clients whom Manning worked for was Cleveland-based shipping tycoon William G. Mather – as in Mather Mansion, which still stands on Euclid Avenue on the campus of Cleveland State University. Several years later, Manning was designing the gardens at Stan Hywet, employing his own “wild garden” style that is apparent on the grounds of the Seiberling homestead.

The Stan Hywet estate is many things: Museum, historic home, architectural gem, horticultural cornucopia and center of community events fit for the entire family. One of its huge highlights is the annual Ohio Mart, a four-day, juried arts & crafts show attended by about 15,000 people each October.

My wife and I bring the kids to visit several times a year. And we love the place. So do my in-laws. In fact, they’re who bought us our membership. I highly recommend a visit. Bring your camera, too. There are eight historic gardens as well as five historic buildings and plenty of other areas for parents and kids to explore.

Check out the Web site at for more info. For more on the gardens, visit

– Tom Mulloy

Old Cleveland Trust Rotunda, Downtown Cleveland

Old Ameritrust Branch, at East Ninth & Euclid, downtown Cleveland.

Old Ameritrust Branch, at East Ninth & Euclid, downtown Cleveland.

The old Cleveland Trust Rotunda in downtown Cleveland, at what used to be the heart of the city’s financial district, at Euclid Avenue and East Ninth Street. This corner was once the crossroads of the region’s big money changing hands.

The image is captured on black and white film with a 30-year-old Canon AE1, with the negative scanned and digital darkroom processing.

There seems to be some ambiguity of when the four-story branch was opened, either 1908 or 1909. Designed by George B. Post, the building has become a landmark in downtown Cleveland and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. About a decade after its opening, plans were made for an 11-story tower to be built on top of it, obscuring the rotunda to outside passersby.

The building rising in the background is the old Ameritrust Tower, one of a handful of remaining designs of Marcel Breuer in the brutalist style. Initial plans for a twin tower were eventually scrapped.  The 29-story skyscraper opened in 1971 but has been vacant for nearly two decades. It was nearly razed to make way for a new Cuyahoga County Administration Building – instead its renovation by a private owner is nearly complete and it will open later this year as residences, offices, a hotel and retail.

Plans are in the works for the bank branch with it’s grand rotunda to open soon as a Heinen’s premium grocery.



Honest Abe on Cleveland’s Mall

Lincoln on the Mall, Cleveland

The statue of President Abraham Lincoln outside what was the Cleveland Board of Education Building. Completed in 1931, the Beaux Arts style building is undergoing renovations and will soon open as the Cleveland Drury Plaza Hotel. Lincoln overlooks Cleveland’s Mall A, at the entrance to what is actually the front of the building, though the main entrance has traditionally been on East Sixth Street.

The statue was created by Realist sculptor Max Kalish, who was born in Lithuania, emigrated with his parents when he was a young child and left school at 15 to study under a scholarship at the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Three panels on the statue’s base hold the text of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. A plaque reads that the statue is a gift of the school children of Greater Cleveland, who paid for it with penny donations in 1932.

– Thomas Mulloy