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  • My name is Donavan Freberg and I’m a Los Angeles based portrait photographer specializing in personality driven headshots for working actors, models and musicians.

    I shot my first picture in the summer of 1977, the same year that two of my favorite movies came out, Star Wars and Annie Hall.

    I was six, and the camera was the Polaroid SX-70.

    I can still remember the soft brown leather that smelled like an old wallet and the shiny round shutter release button that was the color of a freshly washed fire engine. I’ll never forget that camera and the way it felt to watch the little picture develop before my eyes. It was my first taste of magic.

    I've been chasing that magic ever since.

Morgan Lane, Los Angeles Headshot Photography

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Morgan Lane is the quintessential “California” girl and by that I mean she is as smart as she is funny and as sweet as she is confident. A true pleasure to work with from beginning to end, her infectiously bubbly and bright personality shined through my lens from the first frame to the last. An actress with a college degree in communications, this is a person who is going places. Fast. She’s one of those people who can tweet while she’s reading the New Yorker, while putting on make-up, planning a power point presentation and doing pilates. You just get the sense that she’s going to be famous. Most of the people I shoot have that special “something” about them, but Morgan has it in spades. Morgan, it was seriously a blast to shoot you and I really can’t wait to see you living your dream of becoming a full time working actress. I know I won’t have to wait long. You’ve got what it takes, my dear. I’m delighted you chose me to capture your personality and your presence.

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Cherie Kalisher, Business Headshots, Los Angeles

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Cherie Kalisher is a dear friend and an amazing woman. She’s a healer, which is a word that is frequently bandied about within the New Age circles of Los Angeles like a rubber ball in a dog park. Most of the time, these “healers” are nothing more than charlatans. I hold degrees in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Homeopathy and have been involved in the healing arts as both doctor and patient since the 90’s, so suffice it to say that I’ve met and worked with hundreds of healers. Many have been good, some great, some truly gifted. Cherie is among the truly gifted. A licensed acupuncturist, Cherie also does Craniosacral Work, nutritional counseling, detoxification protocols, aromatherapy, massage and a mix of magical esoteric modalities, including the ability to work with deeply engrained emotional and spiritual issues that manifest as stress and anxiety, physical pain and chronic health problems. I have had many sessions with Cherie and always come away feeling lighter, happier, refreshed, less stressed and more in touch with my best self. I was overjoyed when Cherie asked me to shoot some head shots for her for her website, souls path healing. She wanted a few different looks, photos that had some range, showing both her light and earthy sunny side, as well as her witchy woman moon side. We had a lot of fun and I even broke out my studio lights, which is always a fun experiment and departure from my usual signature natural light work. Thank you, Cherie, for allowing me to capture you and thank you for all the great healing work you’ve done with me, I look forward to many more creative collaborations together!

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If you are  a business professional who needs a good headshot, be it for your website, brochure, cards, please give me a call. I offer special rates for non-actors needing a photo of themselves for promotional use. The session is quick and easy and you’ll walk away with images you can use to represent your true self, looking your best and brightest.

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Paul Respass, Los Angeles Headshot Photography

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Paul Respass is one of the coolest dudes I’ve ever shot. I say, “Dude” not in a “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” kind of way but more in a gentleman cowboy, Sam Elliot kind of way. The kind of “Dude” that you’d want to come to your rescue when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan. Paul is that kinda guy. Paul is real, 100% Grade-A-Good-Guy. When I first was contacted by him and looked him up on IMDB, I was amazed (and a bit scared) to find that he’d recently starred in a film called, “The Hillbilly Butcher”. As the butcher! But on the phone, he was as sweet as sugar, very well spoken and obviously serious about his craft. In person, he was just as genuine. His range, from intense tough guy to light-hearted good guy was impressive. As I looked at him through the viewfinder, I found a man of many faces. Focused, fun, easy-going and professional, a rare and wide ranging treat of traits. Agents take note, Paul is a very “castable” character actor, with character. A man who hits his marks and doesn’t miss a step. Paul, it was a true pleasure working together. I wish you the very best in what I’m sure will be a long and fruitful career as a successful actor.

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Paul E Respass - March 6, 2014 - 5:28 pm

Donavan touches me deeply. As an actor, I know I am very “needy” in that I’m always looking for acceptance and praise. But, that being said, so few people “get” the real me.Donavan has not only seen my soul, you captured it through his lens.
I had heard of Donavan through media outlets and such and was excited in seeing how he would shoot me. It’s been my experiance that some photographers shoot “characters”, some look for the “artsy” shot, some shoot “glamor”, and others just go straight for the “show business” shot.
My day with Donavan was none of that. He wanted to know who I am and what I’m all about. And, I must say, I was overwhelmed when I saw the results. He didn’t take a single bad picture. And what’s more, he captured my “inner self”. It was quite a chore to pick which ones to use.
Here is a man who, through his camera, works magic!

Donavan - March 6, 2014 - 5:48 pm

Thanks, Paul! You’re the best!!! :)

Kathy - October 10, 2014 - 9:29 am

/ I joined LinkedIn as a rseponse to a request made by higher management. Until today I had no interest of participating in usage of social network/web utilities. My current job does require that I am in constant link with latest technologies and information’s in my business, for witch I use Internet. The amount of time that is necessary to keep the profile on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter alive , (meaning to rseponse to invitation, to read the posts, messages, to post pictures, comments etc.) maybe seems insignificant, but the grand total is huge. I preferred to be payed for work, not for online chitchatting, therefore the question goes: If you go offline is your carrier going offline? If you have no extra time for Facebook and similar social networks will it make you unemployable, undesirable and/or unwanted employee? I do not have Facebook twitter or any other account any where accept from couple of days ago on LinkedIn. And now it is been 10 days and I haven’t log on there since I have a job to do, project to finish. So, I do not see it, I do not see the significance of these web pages. Maybe in some businesses where the image and audio connection is relevant to the job, but other than that I need internet, not people in general.

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Amanda Tate-Los Angeles Headshots

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 A dear friend since high school, Amanda Tate is as beautiful as she is brilliant. A talented actress and comedian, Amanda is a weekly performer at Second City Hollywood and iO West. Her improv, stage and film work never fails to bring me to tears with laughter. It’s no accident that she has these gifts, she was born with show business DNA running through her bloodstream. Her parents were both well known television character actors in the 1970’s, so it comes as no surprise that Amanda followed in their footsteps. We shot a variety of pictures and I was pleased to hear that her agent was delighted with the photos. That to me, is the key. My client must of course be fully happy with my work, but when an agent or manager gives the thumbs up, I know I’ve done my job right. Amanda’s mother also approved, possibly the ultimate stamp of approval. I want to give my clients not just head shots, but memories. It was a great pleasure to shoot an old friend. Thank you, Amanda, for a fun and fabulous shoot. You are such a gem.

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Brian - August 22, 2014 - 8:56 pm

Wow! What a beautiful woman! Amanda, your smile takes my breath away. ;)

Love the pictures. Great job, Donavan!

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This Is Happening!

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I’m very proud and honored to announce that my photography has been published in the official new Instagram book, “This Is Happening”. I’m photo #30! Also, #38, #61, #128, #130, #162, #177 and #194!!! They ran EIGHT of my photos!!! AND they used one of my images right on the spine of the book, directly under the Chronicle books logo! I made the cover! It won’t be available to buy till its official release on November 12th, but you can pre-order on Amazon. I just got a few copies in the mail and am thrilled that they included my work! Thank you to editors Leslie Dutcher and Bridget Payne! And thanks of course to Chronicle Books for including my work in your beautiful book!!! Yippee!

If you’re an instagrammer, please follow me and I will follow you back, check me out!

http://instagram.com/donavanf

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Elisabeth Rosen-Miracle Mile Portrait Shoot

Elisabeth Rosen is a brilliant actress. Professional and poised, her energy harkens to a time gone by, yet her jubilant and joyous presence is as fresh as a gerber daisy.

She has played opposite Gene Wilder, appeared on “The West Wing” and been a regular on several Sci-Fi TV shows including “Caprica” and “Stargate SG-1″.

Her energy is commanding and her chameleon like charm was a hoot to witness. Shooting her was marvelous. She lives in Vancouver but was here in LA recently for a commercial gig. She needed new headshots while she was here and contacted me. I’m glad she did. I wanted to give her not just headshots, but real personality portraits.

She arrived back in Vancouver a few days ago, texted me today and said, “The pictures are AMAZING. Light and color and yes yes yes! You are very talented and my agent said these were my best photos ever. Thank you!”.

That is why I love what I do. I’m a problem solver.

When my client is delighted the problem is solved.

PS: Elisabeth recently gave up smoking regular cigarettes and smoked an e-cigarette for most of our shoot. Pretty much non stop. Between Elisabeth’s 70’s vibes and the cigs, I felt like I was shooting a combination of  Annie Hall and Katharine Hepburn in 1939. I can’t think of a better combo.

Kitty - December 4, 2013 - 3:36 am

These photos of Elisabeth – extraordinary. What I love about your work when the ‘magic happens’ or ‘hits you’ – you manage to take us by the hand pulling us into another world through your lens. Beautiful lighting, focus (or beautiful ‘blurs and frames’ surrounding Elisabeth). Soft, powerful, ‘thunderous silence’ – with stunning femininity and brilliant shine. Beautiful girl, beautiful photography!! Hoping to see more sometime very soon.

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