I simply LOVE theater headshots because they offer the opportunity for an extremely dramatic portrait. The industry standard is unique in the photography world -- heads clipped, composure tight, eye at the thirds, and depth of field shallow. More than most photography, we capture the subject's personality through the eyes. These headshots are all about the Eyes and how they transmit Expression.
I put my own spin on these portraits. I believe that natural light trumps studio strobes every time. Mid-winter sunlight in the northeast is clean and bright--unmatched with the help of diffusers and reflectors. And, an insanely shallow depth of field (using Canon's L glass wide open between f/1.2 and 2.0) makes any background melt. These shots are not about smiles (although they can work magic at times), but about expression.
Check out these awesome actors and actresses ... and a fun phone shot at the end showing the surprising on-location set up I used to capture them.