happy 4th of July to all American readers!
As I continue to work on physical therapy I am always amazed at breath and alignment.
Each must be so tangible and available to us just to move through our lives, but even more so as singers and actors.
This has been an insistent and visceral theme in my world and of late, even more so.
As singers, we have to constantly stay in the NOW to discover how that breath and alignment is working with us, not against us.
One of those discoveries can be through a photograph.
Many singers and actors use photos to promote themselves - through websites, submissions, on social media and the like. Head shots are one thing, and "performance" shots are quite another.
These performance shots can be very revealing. I am talking more about you in concert, you walking onto stage, you taking a bow, you being YOU, not playing a character in a production.
The importance of physical behavior is captured in that instant for all to see.
Are you aware of what it reveals? Are you willing to see it as it is, and then make the adjustments necessary to improve upon it?
Many singers and actors are unaware of how they come across in a room or in a photo. They simply put the photo up, not realizing that the subliminal response can be just as important as their head shot.
This doesn't mean you can't use the shot: it means that you need to examine WHY and if necessary, crop the photo to exude only what you wish to be shown.
This demands a great deal of objectivity and not wishful thinking. This requires you to ask bigger questions of yourself and the professionals you trust to give you the truth and what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
A photograph can reveal a professionalism that you embody - or it can reveal an amateurism that prevents you from being heard. Wouldn't you want someone looking at a performance photo to say "I'm intrigued, call her/him in!"
Lately, I have been seeing too many "amateur" looking performance photos. You can do better than that; you ARE better than that!
Use the photos that POP professionally and aren't just "good enough". If you feel like they are "meh", trust me, the business isn't going to give them more than a glance.
If it's a full length photo - are your knees locked? Is your stance too wide? Is your stance too closed in? All these reek amateur.
What about your torso?
Is your chest sucken? Are you sitting on your solar plexus? This is an apologetic stance.
Is your chest too high? Is your sternum and ribcage locked? This often reads as bitchy and defensive. (P.S. This was MY M.O btw...I am not immune to these issues either!)
Are you leading with your stomach? Completely unengaged? This reads as you don't care.
If you don't care, why should they?
What are your arms doing? What about those pesky hands?
Are you using a mic or mic-less? If holding a mic, are you comfortable with it?
There is a reason to practice with your hair brush in front of you mirror you know...!!!!
Are your eyes open? Is there something being said there? Is there passion or fire or engagement?
The photos that encourage someone to enter are the ones that engage fully, and create an EASE with the body, not a rigidity.
Some of you may ask for examples. I can't use photos of people and embarrass them so if you want some feedback on yours, ask me! Or ask someone you trust who works with you regularly.
Don't forget, in this day of photo shop you can crop crop crop! Maybe your face is engaged and your hands are engaged, but your lower body is locked. Crop it out. Doesn't mean you can use it! Just know HOW to use effectively!
In the meantime, keep exploring and staying present in your body and your breath as you move through your day. Keep integrating the two; Sometimes practice without singing - just using the body through a song or aria. Guide your intentions with your breath. Make them authentic by making them conscious so they have an opportunity to find an honest spontaneity!
Let your photos reveal something about you that is more than professional or amateur. Let it give the viewer pause; and want to know more and HEAR more!
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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