Creating a headshot for the luminous Rachel Bay Jones was one of my most fun shoots ever.
I have been a fan of Rachel Bay Jones for years, but it has been her most recent turn as Heidi Hansen in the phenomenal phenomenon Dear Evan Hansen, also starring Ben Platt, Laura Dreyfuss, Will Roland, Kristolyn Lloyd, Mike Faist, Michael Park, and Jennifer Laura Thompson, that has propelled her into the public eye in a new way.
Dear Evan Hansen is a completely original music. The music was written by Pasek and Paul, which is comprised of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. The book of Dear Evan Hansen was written by Steven Levenson.
Dear Evan Hansen opened on Broadway in 2016 at the Music Box Theatre. At the 71st Tony Awards, Dear Evan Hansen was nominated for nine Tony Awards. It ended up winning six, which including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Actor in a Musical. It also included a Tony for Rachel Bay Jones as Best Featured Actress in a Musical, an award she so richly deserved.
How do you create a headshot for someone when their identity has become tied up in the character they play on Broadway? The name "Rachel Bay Jones" has become so intertwined with the name "Heidi Hansen" that one has to be careful to not let Heidi influence the headshot of Rachel!
We began the headshot session by collaborating on attire. We had procured some dramatic pieces from Rent the Runway for Rachel's more theatrical looks, but needed a clean and simple outfit for the more basic headshot type shots. We chose one of Rachel's own black dresses and kept the accessories simple, yet in line with Rachel's own style.
Hair and makeup were done by my dear friend and talented artist Amanda Thesen. Amanda always does an exemplary job of creating a clean makeup look that enhances the subject rather than distracting from her natural beauty. I love how clean Rachel's skin looks, allowing her gorgeous natural luminosity to shine. Her eyes are bright, her skin glowing, and she looks exactly like herself. This is a really important trait in a good headshot!
I worked with natural light in my Brooklyn, New York headshot studio to create this portrait. The light gently illuminates the subject without overwhelming her, highlighting her perfectly.
The most important part in creating a good headshot is making your subject comfortable with you as the photographer. I always take the time to chat with my clients while they're getting their hair and makeup done, doing my best to make them comfortable in my presence before I even pick up a camera for the first time in front of him or her.
I enjoyed my afternoon with Rachel Bay Jones immeasurably. She is a kind, wonderful, talented and warm woman who deserves every accolade her turn as Heidi Hansen has brought her. I was so honored to collaborate with her on this headshot, and I look forward to many more shoots with this wonderful human being in the future!