This week I had a new kind of corporate portrait client. Kayla performs magic professionally – at corporate events and parties, for example – and needed some new, updated corporate portraits. So the question came to me: How do you photograph a magician? Or, more precisely, what does a magician’s photo need to communicate?
I looked at some other magician’s photos and found a lot of top hats with rabbits coming out of them and people making silly faces while holding a decks of cards. But I thought, does your picture need to communicate that you can physically do magic tricks and have all the appropriate props? Do prospective clients really need to see you wearing a sequin cape to know that you perform? Would seeing that you have cards and a top hat make people want to hire you to perform magic at their company’s Christmas party? Or are people hiring you based on your persona, your charisma and your appearance? After all, a magician’s website and promotional materials clearly state “I am a magician, hire me!” so the photos are more about personality. Kayla and I decided that the personality traits she wanted to communicate are young, energetic, funny, interesting, dynamic and feminine. So we mostly left the props out (although the throwing-cards-at-the-camera-shot is just too tempting) and made pictures that communicated Kayla’s amazing personality.