" A headshot is the most important tool for an actor. It is the gateway through the door to castings, auditions, agencies, directors and represents, at first glance, the performer as who they are. Capturing the essence of a person in an image is no small feat, and in a city the size of Los Angeles, finding a photographer with that ability is kind of like, a needle in the haystack problem.
Finding Michael Sanville was a blessing for me.
The whole experience was, to say the least, professional, unique and so comfortable. I had contacted Michael through his website and received a call from him shortly thereafter. We arranged a meeting to get-to-know each other and discuss my vision on what I wanted in my photos. The meeting was held in his studio so I was able to see the space, followed by a great conversation in which Michael genuinely took the time to get to know me and what I wanted out of my career. I knew what I wanted my headshots to look and feel like and Michael listened to every word, asking questions and understanding until we agreed on the how to best capture exactly what I wanted.
We shot the following week and the shoot was the best I have ever experienced. From a relaxation exercise to calm my nerves and get me comfortable in myself and with the camera, to smooth music and lots of laughs with Michael and his makeup artist Leila. He had the CD with all the images by the end of the day for me and I walked away from that shoot with headshots exactly the way I wanted them, which is such an amazing feeling.
Thank you Michael! To you and your wonderful team, I have beautiful images that I can feel so proud to represent me as an artist, and I can't thank you enough.
I look forward to being able to work with you again.
~Lana Carter (Actress)
"I highly recommend to anyone who is looking for a professional photographer with the ability of capturing that special quality in yourself, Michael is it. Coming into our session I was very nervous and tense due to previous disastrous shoots that left me with pictures that looked nothing like me. What I did leave with was a good feeling that I finally found a photographer who knew his stuff. What I liked the most was how personable the whole experience was. He made sure that you were comfortable, relaxed and enjoying every moment of it. Michael is in every sense of the word, a professional with an amazing gift, (not to mention an awesome air guitarist)!! :)"
~Vanessa Alderete (Actress)
"Michael has this saying, 'There is no best photographer out here in LA.' Well, in all honesty, he's wrong! He is the best! Not only is he an AMAZING photographer, he's an amazing person willing to spend the valuable time to help get you the results you want and need to get called back! Not only does he have a wealth of knowledge about the industry that can help a seasoned veteran or just a new comer He's also just a great person (Not very many like him out here). Working on the shoot with Michael was amazing and humbling. His patience and positive attitude was relaxing and allowed me to get results that I didn't even know were possible. If you're searching for a photographer that truly cares about the individual experience, not rushing you out the door and another client into the door to keep the "money train" going then look no further. With Michael Sanville you've found what you're looking for. Michael Sanville is the best photographer around these parts, bar none!"
~Johnathan Lewis (Actor)
"Michael is lovely to work with. I was very nervous about having headshots taken and I was fairly positive that I was unphotogenic in everyway. Michael went out of his way to put me at ease. He is the perfect combination of professionalism, friendliness, consideration and he's pretty entertaining too! All of these things took me from being extremely shy, like a deer in the headlights, to having some absolutely gorgeous pictures. May I also mention that the day of the shoot was a tumultuous day for me personally. By the end of the process I was happy, relaxed and felt pretty damn good. I would definitely trust Michael to take my photos every time. When you work with Michael you not only discover a great photographer, you make a friend. But most importantly I think the photos speak for themselves."
~Sky Worthington-Bunn (Actress)
"Working with Michael was by far the most enjoyable experience I have had with a photographer. He made me feel comfortable and beautiful throughout the shoot, and when I left I felt like I had just made a new friend. We discussed how I wanted the pictures to represent me before the shoot, and the final images captured my vision superbly. The makeup artist on set was also a delightful and fun person to work with. She talked everything over with me and made sure I liked what she was doing. My opinion was taken into consideration throughout the entire shoot, while they both guided me in making the best choices for how I wanted to represent myself in the photos. Michael was calming and reassuring before, during and after the shoot, and made me feel completely at ease. He made sure that I was completely satisfied with everything after the shoot and helped a great deal with choosing the final images I was to print. I have never worked with someone more dedicated to "pleasing the customer." I would recommend his services to anyone. Thank you for your respect, passion and comfort. I had so much fun and the pictures look amazing."
~Nancy Degnan (Actress)
"Working with Michael isn't like working at all. He creates a light, relaxed and fun atmosphere. The pictures came out wonderful and he has a great way of getting emotions and the right "look" out of someone. Call it a gift, if you will. : ) I really enjoyed being in front of the camera with him and was impressed at how professional he and his staff are. He has a makeup artist on set with him at all times and they enjoy the work they do so much. I would recommend him to anyone."
~Monique Lombardelli (Actress)
"First off, I will simply say that any actor, or anyone else for that matter, looking for a professional headshot photographer should stop and take note of Michael Sanville; and you will likely need look no further. I was lucky enough to be introduced to him by my acting teacher Jim Jarrett in San Francisco, and one look at his website convinced me I was in good hands. Dealing with Michael beforehand assured me he was concerned enough for my confidence and satisfaction to put me completely at ease. Working with him on the shoot was easy and fun, and he always instilled a confidence in me that what we were doing was spot on in every moment. His follow-up and attention after the shoot was exemplary of any professional who respects his clients. Don’t hesitate to employ Michael to make your headshots sparkle. The work speaks for itself, and the testimonials should be enough to convince you of his knack for making all of his customers completely satisfied. I know I certainly am."
~Evan Hirsch (Actor)
"Thank you so much for two wonderful photo sessions! As a newcomer to LA, I searched the Internet looking thru hundreds of sites wanting to find a divine connection with a photographer.
Your work spoke to my soul.
I followed my heart and I was not disappointed. I emailed you and your follow up was immediate. You listened to what I needed and provided me the creative space along with your suggestions to make my photo sessions comfortable and easy for me to smile from within, enjoyable and not focus on the distress in my life..
Thank you for your patience, skills as a great photographer and for respecting me as a creative being on both our photo shots."
~Rita Anderson (Actress)
"As a recent college grad and a newcomer in Los Angeles, getting good headshots taken (and finding a good, honest photographer to take them) was something I worried about a lot. Fortunately, I found Michael. Michael to a keen interest in what I needed and did not just treat me like another job or a nameless client. He guided me step by step through the process to prepare me for giving the best shoot I possibly could. He doesn't just ask you to show up, take ten shots, and hope for the best. He treats the photo shoot like a work of art and makes sure that you have the proper preparation to perform your absolute best. The images that he captured were absolutely fantastic and beyond my wildest imaginations. There is no one else I would rather work with. I cannot recommend him highly enough."
~Robert Janek (Actor)
"Michael I thought it was time to write and express our appreciation of your fantastic efforts and artistry. Your skills are clear to see and completely exceeded our expectations. We are especially pleased at how quickly you respond to any questions we had. Your updates and how you show such patience and understanding with Cora and her manger was terrific. We would willingly recommend your talent without hesitation to anyone that wants to work with a true artist. It took a very long time and much trial and error to find you, we are so pleased we did and to top it off your so approachable – THANK YOU! "
~Andrew Lakey (Artist & Father to Cora)
"Michael is a truly spirited photographer from the inside out. He was able to capture in my headshots what nobody else could! "
~Cora (Actress Cora Lakey-16)
"Pure talent, honest, professional, original, and a one of a kind INCREDIBLE photographer/artist - Meet Michael Sanville! Working with Michael was truly an amazing experience!!! From our very first meeting, Michael was honest about everything and was interested in getting to know me so that he can help bring out my personality in photos. He is not your typical LA photographer that treats you as a number... Michael designed the shoot to uniquely fit my style and personality. Michael stopped to make sure I looked perfect between nearly every single picture. Whether it was moving a piece of hair, fixing my shirt, or asking me questions to try and bring out a specific look - he honestly knows what he's doing more than any photographer in the industry. Michael made me feel so at ease that I was able to have so much fun with it! His passion for his work is so apparent that you can't help but be excited too. If I don't achieve my dream in Hollywood, I can say that my photo shoot day with Michael made me feel like a star!
~Keren Segal (Actress)
"I absolutely positively LOVED working with Michael! I appreciated the fact the before he took a picture he took the time to sit down and meet with me so that he could get a feel for me, my energy, and my vibe. From the moment I shook his hand and sat down i knew he was amazing and the photos would be awesome! Michael took the time to make me feel relaxed, and comfortable. It is very hard to trust what the person behind the lense is seeing, but Michael has an eye and a talent and can bring the best out of anyone and capture it in a photo! Michael is amazing and I have nothing but wonderful things to say about him and his work! "
~Nia Witts (Actress)
"I am a Real Estate Professional in Dana Point, Orange County. I needed professional headshots but wanted to kick myself if I had to have the same boring headshots I see day to day at work. I started a search for Photographers in Orange County whose work was professional, unique, and stood out amongst the others. I accidently stumbled upon Michael Sanville’s work. I then realized he was a 1 ½ hour drive. After a week or two more of researching every photographer I could find in the OC, I gave up. Seeing Michael’s work had set me now at a certain standard and so I decided the drive was definitely worth it.
Michael was nothing like I had expected…You walk into a studio and meet the kindest, most down to earth, patient, humble and gracious gentleman! He puts all your nerves to ease and just connects with you through his work and his humor. You know when a photographer takes pictures of you and they just don’t look or seem like YOU? Seeing Michael’s photos ( even though I had a make up artist at hand) was like looking at the real me, HE GOT IT. In the small time I had with him, he understood and captured ME in my photos…not a version of what some photographer thinks I should be or some robotic pose and smile you see day to day on benches and flyers. That day was a blast! It was honestly an experience I am so grateful to have had and I look forward to working with Michael again in the near future. Thank you Michael for the giving person that you are, I admire the gift that you have and the heart that you share that gift with."
~Michelle Scanlon (Realtor)
"I originally contacted Michael Sanville out of sheer desperation when a prior photo shoot for my daughter's headshots went horribly wrong. At first, what appeared to be an awful lesson learned about choosing theright photographer, ended up an amazing blessing in disguise.
Of all the photographers I researched to re-shoot my daughter, Michael's pictures were the only ones that literally took my breath away. So, I decided to take my chances and what I ended up with was much more than I ever bargained for. I cannot continue this without first addressing Michael Sanville, the man. I am not sure one could find a more honest, caring, warm, and deeply passionate human being to entrust their business to. His photos are pure beauty, as is his heart.
Now, the photos...absolutely stunning. Without a doubt, the most remarkable photos of my child ever taken. He knew exactly what we wanted and gave even more. We had so many perfect pictures to choose from that I was extremely grateful when Michael took the time to give his input, as it helped to narrow it down. However, I still wish I could use them all! I honestly do not know how to put into words how thankful I am to have found Michael."
~Jennifer S. (Mother)
"Michael is a true artist who connects with his subjects to reveal their natural honest self. In this business, the headshot is the calling card. It gets one in the door. And in this age of quick turnaround it can book the job. Michael is quality. He is honest, intuitive and a thorough professional. In the midst of thousands of mediocre photographers generating mediocre work for their own gain, wouldn't you rather have a proven professional contributing to your career? Michael is your man!"
~Caroline Liem, (Casting Director)
“I met Michael Sanville about 15 years ago through my friend, Academy Award Nominee, Jeremy Renner. We were both struggling actors and Jeremy’s photos were some of the best I had seen. I met with Michael and it was clear that I was dealing with a pro. Michael has shot my headshots ever since (every year and a half to two years) and he continues to raise the bar. The problem everytime isn’t “did we get a great shot or two?”, my agents and I always have too many to chose from. Michael has that rare combination of being able to connect with his subjects on a very deep level and capture their true essence in a way that is aesthetically pleasing (especially the eyes). I wouldn’t even consider using someone else.”
~David Kelsey (Actor)
"Michael Sanville is a real actor's photographer. As soon as I met him I knew I had connected with the right person to do my photos. Michael feels deeply the inner instincts of the artist's soul. His photographs capture the natural truthfulness in the eyes of the actor. His intense approach to his work is sheer artistry. "
~Bill Dance (Casting Director)
"In a town where no one agrees on worth, I have received constant praise regarding my headshots because they both capture my authenticity and enhance it. Michael Sanville creates pictures which offer no distractions. His headshots are entrancing in their simplicity, capturing the energy of the eyes and revealing his subject's personality in the process. Unlike many headshot photographers, he realizes what makes a performer unique is what her face conveys; Michael's pictures serve as a celebration of that truth."
~Jason Romaine (actor -comedian)
"There is a reason why agencies, managers and we casting people swear by him"
~Michael Teirney (casting director-mteirneycasting)
"Thanks Michael! I'm very happy. Never would have believed I could get so many so fast. You're a real artist."
~Doug Olear (actor)
"..you're a genius...all of these turned out well because you're a genius....I'm trying to think of a better way to compliment your work but im speechless! You definitely have a God given gift, and I am SOOO thankful that I got to do these with you. It's so rare to find someone who is working within a field that they are extremely good at, but ALSO love doing. You are the best example of someone who not only loves their work, but does it EXTREMELY well. I couldn't have asked for a better or more professional photographer. Genius, pure genius."
~Marie Dawson (actress-dancer)
"In today's world of mediocre headshots, Michael's photography stands out head and shoulders above others. His work has an old school quality that captures the essence of his subjects. Shooting mostly natural light, his work is clean, amazingly well lit and his subjects seem to be completely at ease yet all there."
~Baret Lepejian (owner of A&I/Isgo Lepejian Lab)
"...you have left me speechless. When it came to searching for the right photographer I had seen them all. But it wasn't until I found Michael that I had truly come across the ONE! Thank you Michael for bringing out my inner Joy in my photos. You are understanding, patient, and a brilliant photographer who I would work with any day of the week. You have a remarkable gift and I am proud to have shot with such an artist."
~Joy McElveen (actress)
“Michael is my go-to guy for everything photography. He is consistently able to turn my requests into a photo that captures the essence of my client and how I want them to be represented in the entertainment industry.”
~Molly Madden ( Manager - 3 Arts Entertainment)
We overcame countless obstacles to make it to the town of our dreams, Hollywood. For most of us the most difficult thing now that we are here is getting invited into the room to share our God given talents that make us shine. I'm writing to tell you from one artist to another that you have found a genius in Michael Sanville that can get you the invite into that room if you are willing to trust in his talent. My testimony; I arrived in town a little over a year ago immediately taking shots with another respected photographer. I submitted those shots for 6 months without a single call for a meeting which was rough. Finally I met a Casting Director in person that I hit it off with really well. She asked me to send her my headshots which I happily hand delivered the next day to her office. A few days later I received an email from her saying, "Jake this is a nice picture but there is no life, or honesty here of who you are. " The photographer had failed to capture my essence. Shortly after that I began doing in depth research on photographers in Hollywood, wow there's a ton. I narrowed my list down to the top 4. I called each one, and Michael was the only photographer that was interested in getting to know me, and in fact insisted on meeting in person before shooting which I think speaks volumes about his character, honest, trustworthy, and dedicated to helping others succeed. He's producing shots that change lives, and make dreams a reality. He took the time to listen to my story, and then he committed to the work, which I really admire. Everybody else I called did not want to meet before the shoot, or even get to know anything about me until the camera was out, and firing away. So I committed to Michael and put my full trust in his ability to capture my essence in his art. I listened carefully to everything he had to say, and arrived on the Friday we had scheduled excited for all the possibilities waiting in front of us. It went perfect. I had booked his makeup artist Ashley as well who was absolutely fabulous. Within an hour and a half we had finished the shoot, and the difficult part was picking out our favorites because it had gone so well. That following week I booked a meeting with one of the prominent casting directors at ABC with Michael's work. Within a few days after that meeting I received a phone call that I was booked in a recurring role. As I write this I'm holding a paycheck in my hand from ABC that I know will be the first of many. Thank you Michael for your dedication, and commitment to helping me succeed in reaching my dreams. I'm forever grateful.Sincerely,
~Jake Sharp (actor)
"This truly was the best photo session I've ever experienced, because Michael is such a kind gentle soul who wants to connect with his clients, person to person! He wants to understand just who you are and to learn exactly what you want your photos to represent. He's excellent at wardrobe selection, and brilliant at knowing what to say to get you to relax and be yourself in front of the camera!"
~Lisa Temple (Actress)
"An actor is an entrepreneur. In the business of self-marketing our headshots are our most important investment. Working with renown photographer Michael Sanville is the most solid career choice I've made to date. Our shoot was on point and professional resulting in over 400 usable images. Since selecting the top two, I have secured a new theatrical agent (whom I adore), booked a commercial, starred in a play, and have auditioned for several network series. Michael's shots got me in the door. When my picture is in a pile of 20 other girls who look exactly like me, I am confident in knowing I went with the best (the results speak for themselves!)".
~Amy Dewhurst (Actress)
Amy and I had such a lovely time with you and Tanika. Thank you for making us feel so incredibly special-- and joyous. Our feelings are reflected in the photographs, which turned out so beautifully (much to our delight!)
Thanks for making the selects for us and thanks so very much for retouching the image that you liked best. I think I'll probably go with it as my favorite as well. I trust you! You are such a beautiful, talented, deep soul- who deserves the very best ! "
~Kathy Eldon (Founder & President / Creative Visions Foundation)
"As I browsed your website I could tell that your headshots were genuine and top quality. I wanted to choose a photographer that could represent a true representation of me and you Michael delivered! You have a natural ability to make your subject feel relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera...even if we have no experience! I was so pleased with the final shots and selections. Thank you for such a enjoyable first time photo shoot."
~Amanda Fernandez (Model)