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Gene Smith
We help people feel great so they look great for our lens.
We help people feel great so they look great for our lens.


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Philadelphia EAGLES!

Many years ago I had an assignment to create architectural interior photos of the (then) new EAGLES Nova Care facility for the company that engineered all the AudioVisual equipment. We broke for lunch and what a surprise!

I’ve had many memorable assignments but I’ll never FORGET dining in that EAGLES cafeteria!

There were a half dozen themed food stations- Thanksgiving, Sea Food, S T E A K, Italian, and on and on each with its own chef!

The lunch was DELICIOUS and the portions were Champion sized!

It was really fun to photograph the huge EAGLES theatre where the players studied the game films.

The theatre SEATS were TWICE normal to seat the huge lineman and everything was first class!

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The world’s Best Advertising is Positive Public Relations!

What is the VALUE of a great professional photo?

To one of Phlly’s TOP accounting firms it is PRICELESS!!

A good customer of mine for years called me in August to set up a photoshoot. This woman knows marketing (and she is tops to work with).

She knows that when one entices the editors of magazines with fantastic professional photography, an opportunity for incredible Public Relations arises.

While we had hoped for some Press Release uses announcing the Firm’s new Minority Group we were absolutely THRILLED to get the news that-

ACCOUNTING TODAY Magazine was going to pick up the photos and- USE THEM ON THE COVER!

Ask yourself what is the VALUE of this for ANY firm?

Unlike paid advertising, a press release and especially a MAGAZINE’s COVER adds a level of credibility to any firm’s marketing and SALES plan.

Today, anyone can brag about themselves-

But when an industry’s TOP PUBLICATION says it ABOUT YOUR FIRM-

The value is P R I C E L E S S!

When you know what you are doing and want the rest of the world to know-

Do what top corporations do…

CALL GENE! (We win awards- FOR OUR CLIENTS!)

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Thank you Mr. Chiavelli!

You can see JR's fantastic new headshot here-

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The Real Deal in Professional Headshots-

I had the great pleasure of working with a professional casting director on a very big project last month.

During breaks, at lunch and while waiting for props and make-up we discussed what he thought about actor’s headshots.

I asked him what he saw in a headshot and if there was anything actors could do to get called-in AND HIRED.

I was surprised to see some of the headshots he had pulled up from his search for actors we used in this project.

Many were satisfactory- But the number of laughable snapshots some folks sent in only to be trashed was amazing.

And they were not considered for the project.

Not only did the snapshots not feature the actor in her best light, they showed a lack of professionalism that not only jeopardized the actor’s payday- but an undependable actor not showing up ready to work jeopardizes our whole team.

The costs in renting a location, travel of clients, photographers, stylists, make-up artists, editors, production teams, renting of props and other expenses all rely on a fully functioning team.

These costs are lost if the production stops. No one can take a chance on a no-show or unprepared teammate. Those with substandard headshots weren’t even considered. Their lousy headshots projected a sloppy unprofessional image.

I asked the casting director about styles in headshots.

I asked him what he thought of the headshots on my website.

I asked him what I could do to make my headshots stand out for my customers.

He told me:

“A headshot should represent the actor.” That seems simple enough…

What he really meant was it should be a real take on the actors face.

No heavy make-up should be used that could distort the actual complexion of the person.

The planes of the face need to be rendered so the casting director can see all the features.

NO extreme digital retouching should be used either. Remember- A great director of photography can use lighting to create a mood and or slim a face and professional makeup artists can hide blemishes-

But in a moving action scene the truth comes out. The camera follows the subject in and out of the lighting and the truth is exposed.

Automatic digital retouching that many headshot photographers use smear the features and complexion of the actor. They end up looking like tired old plastic surgery!

Professional casting directors recognize these Photoshop plug-ins immediately and sadly it is often a deal breaker for the actor.

I rely on my decades of experience, very special portrait lenses, glamour lighting, posing to accentuate the positive, and my experience in photographing advertising for national and international campaigns with many top art directors, to create a great headshot portrait.

The result is calls for auditions for my headshot customers.

Take a look at the headshots on my web pages. I’m happy to say there is nothing special about them…

The special thing is how fantastic the PEOPLE in them LOOK!

Many are regular folks in business that want to look their best for Linkedin headshots and Facebook headshots or for their business’ website.

Some successful folks even want their passport photos to reflect their success.

Many are actors who come to me and return to keep their CASTING headshots CURRENT.

Others- like several this year, are those who have been to another studio only to forget that experience and pay me (again) to make them look great.

I was able to see firsthand what happens when an actor does not update her headshot-

The casting director called in a woman who had sent in her outdated headshot.

The director was looking for a mid 30’s woman to play a nurse.

When she arrived it was plain that her 30’s were a distant memory.

It was sad all around…

He told her-

“I’m sorry your headshot isn’t current we were looking for someone younger for this role.”

That for sure is disappointing-

But what came next is crushing. He added-

“You would have been perfect for one of the principal roles we cast LAST WEEK”.


Whether you are a professional actor or just want to look like yourself on one of your very best days-

An expert headshot by a photographer who works in the business is your best option.

I’m often asked how often someone should get a new headshot.

The answer is simple.

Whenever you get a new look in hairstyle or a change in your weight and in men a change in your beard it is time to show that in a new headshot.

Child actors need to get their headshots changed often.

For busy successful executives I like to tell them-

New car?

New Headshot!

Look your honest best-

Call Gene

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Here is a promotional piece I made in the early 90’s for my Gene Smith Photo in Moorestown. It was originally a magazine assignment.

Back then we used film and there were so many different experts in the Graphic Arts field that had decades of experience making the different steps in an ad campaign or magazine layout.

Today these Graphic Arts professionals are taken for granted but we must remember one thing:

When it took many many years of apprenticeship and study to learn the different crafts in graphics production, artists refined their skills in art and design. Sadly today those steps in excellence are lost.

It took great skills to make the different steps required to create a photo illustration.

This photo was commissioned for a health magazine piece and I was lucky enough to be able to get my customer to help with the production.

First we decided on the concept of little janitors cleaning a home refrigerator.

Then we needed to get the Tyvek suits for the models. I wanted to make it easier to cut out each model so the suits made for a consistent edge for my knife. If I cut a little too much the suits hid the error.

We photographed each model (I’m here too!) in a pre-determined position to match the items in the fridge.

Then I printed each photo in my darkroom at a scale that matched the groceries in the fridge and I painstakingly cut out each person and their mop or pail with an Exacto knife- Yep I had made extra prints because I knew there would be mistakes.

The cutouts were then positioned in the fridge and re-photographed.

Since the photos were flat and glossy to retain sharpness, contrast and color, glare was a huge problem…

I used an old photo technique “painting with light” to evenly light the fridge and carry the existing light to make the shot look natural without glare.

To do this we needed to darken the room, put the camera on a strong tripod and leave the shutter open while I “painted” the scene with a moving flashlight!

Remember- no preview as we have today with digital cameras.

As you can see the results are fantastic-

All without a computer or digital camera!

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A Call Back for New Photography at Philly’s Top Accounting Firm

I got a call from Heffler, Radetich & Saitta, LLP to photograph their new minority CPA firm Horsey Buckner & Heffler LLP to show the new team and Heffler’s principals in a group photo. Working in the City in a public space has its challenges and this photo was no different. When we arrived there were girls from a high school helping folks to register to vote. It was also lunch time and people were enjoying the stellar 75 degree mid-October weather. I had my location lighting and we set up a very informal group featuring the huge new bronze statue of newly re-discovered local hero Octavius V. Catto by artist Branly Cadet. The sculpture is the first public sculpture raised at City Hall since John Wanamaker, Citizen was dedicated in 1923.

It was a great time working with old and new friends from Heffler!

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New Corporate Portraits for Advanced Oral Specialty Group

I had the pleasure of photographing the staff of Advanced Oral Specialty Group at their location in Voorhees, NJ last week and what a fun time we had.

The team is lead by Alan M. Meltzer, D.M.D., M.Sc.D. and here is a new portrait of Dr. Mina Ebrahimi Daryani, D.M.D.

Dr. Daryani is just as gracious and competent as her pretty new portrait shows.


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Electric Racing Hugely Popular in Germany

Years ago I used to photograph all the Matchbox brand cars, trucks and play-sets for MATTEL.

It was a lot of fun and challenging to render the cars and sets often with child models having a ball.

I also had the assignment of photographing the Electric Racing series which we photographed with 8X10” color film transparencies. We couldn’t know we had a satisfactory photo until the film was processed.

I had enjoyed slot cars as a boy and we had a lot of tricks to make the photos that graced the BIG 42″ boxes look fantastic. At that time Mattel had a dedicated “race room” where the toys, often priceless prototypes, were prepared for photography before production models were available.

We used no retouching and Photoshop had not yet been released to the public yet. There was one firm in Texas that could digitally retouch some things and their costs started above five thousand dollars…

I remember all of those little plastic flag poles that lined the HO Scale tracks. I also remember the tedium of getting each flagpole straight and then straight in the camera!

One trick we used was to have MATTEL’s Race Room exchange the metal rails in the track with white plastic strips that photographed well at all angles.

Often we worked to pre-approved comprehensive ad layouts and never was there room to ‘improvise’.
I stretched the boundaries on this photo however and placed the Datsun ahead of the Ferrari and the Porsche ahead of the Lamborghini!

It was so much FUN to see that electric racing is alive and very popular in Germany today-


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September is a very busy time of year for me making headshots of professionals, actors, business owners, students and anyone who really wants to look their best.

If you are serious about your personal brand you know a great portrait is what makes the perfect first impression.

It is always a good time to update your headshot.

Now in beautiful Autumn is the BEST time to show your radiant self.

Don’t settle. Call Gene-
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