Why PJZ Studios Headshots?

Along with almost two decades of experience as a photographer, I bring the unique perspective of also being an active Equity actor in New York City. I have worked at numerous theaters all across the country and personally know (and audition) for the very casting people that you do. I've sat down with many of them and specifically asked what they look for, what they want to see, what distracts them, etc. We're on the same page.

My background in the theatre will also help us to approach your session from an acting standpoint. We use the concept of basic Acting technique to make taking your shots incredibly easy and laid back. Here is a great quote that reiterates this idea:

"Creativity with portraits involves the invocation of a state of rapport
when only a camera stands between two people vulnerability and mutual trust."
- Minor White

It's all about being comfortable...with me and in front of the camera. This takes time and team work. We work together to mentally get you to that point where you can visually tell a story.

And that's our process: getting to that place of comfort, gaining that trust, actually having all that's left is that expression on your face...that little something extra behind your eyes that will get you in the door.

After that..the rest is up to you.

Why Do Your Headshots Vary in Look?

Because PEOPLE vary in look! My goal isn't to give you a "PJZ Studios" or "Peter James Zielinski" headshot. It's to give you a shot unique to YOU. This means sometimes we'll shoot in studio, sometimes we'll shoot with only natural light. Sometimes both. It depends on you, the time of year, the location, what you're looking for, etc. Headshots are your calling card...not the calling card of your photographer.

How Do I Make a Deposit?

A deposit of $250 is required to book and hold your appointment. The remainder of payment is due the day of your shoot. PayPal, and Venmo are accepted. Rush orders are available for an additional fee (see ala carte options). Use the Contact form to talk dates/times and your ideal payment method.

*Please Note: Rescheduling/Cancellations must be made no less than 48 hours to the chosen shoot date. After this period, deposits become non-refundable. By choosing your date/making your deposit, you are accepting these terms.*

How Do I Prepare For Our Shoot?

LISTEN. Read this next part carefully. THESE ARE GUIDELINES, NOT RULES. So many times, I've had someone show up with one t-shirt because they were worried they didn't have what I describe in my "rules." Again...they're not rules.

Ok, now. In terms of what to wear, bring a bunch of choices and I can help you sort out what'll work best. Here's a few suggestions: Bright colors, solid colors, jewel tones, earth tones, and colors that will help bring out your eyes. Clothing that you love to wear is best. I want you in your favorite stuff...the more comfortable you are in your clothes, the more comfortable you'll look on camera. Layering is great. Black/White/Grays are fine, but a little boring. They're color shots, you really should take advantage of this.

Before your shoot stay hydrated and rest up. 8 hours of sleep the night before is ideal. This is not an excuse to go to a party until 2am the night before and let me do all the clean up. Try to take it easy, stay home, binge watch some Breaking Bad or Westworld, and come in rested / with game face on.


Do You Have A Hair & Make-Up Person?

I work with various hair & makeup people but I'm open to working with anyone you have in mind. Is it required? Nope. If we don't use one, I prefer to have you prepare as if you were going into an audition later on that day. This way, it's an easily repeatable look. NOTE: Makeup and hair can both be fixed in post.

ZOMG I have a pimple, cold sore, [insert issue here]. Help!?

Relax. I've got you covered in terms of retouching. I've been using Photoshop since 1995 and have yet to see something that can't be taken care of with a few brush strokes here and there. Still nervous? Let's take a stroll through these before and afters. Seriously, if dragons, zombies, and head replacements are a thing...I can zap a few tiny zits.

Do You Shoot Exclusively In New York City?

Nope! While I am based out of NYC, I make trips to Chicago and various other cities throughout the year.

Do You Shoot Theatre Groups or at Universities?

Yes. I have yearly trips set up to shoot with students at various universities all over the country. Large groups of students, faculty, etc come with their own discount. For more information on booking a group session for your students, use the Contact form.

Would You Retouch My Photos If I've Shot With Another Photographer?

Absolutely. I've retouched hundreds of images from other photographers. Whether you've shot with someone else or have old shots you'd like to freshen up...we've got you covered. Use the Contact form to get in touch and we'll get your images ready to print.