For the photographer that’s starting out, headshots can be a bit intimidating, but incredibly vital to your success. Most of the work that you’ll get as a new photographer will be photographing human subjects, which means that not only do you need to get used to lighting those types of subjects, you’ll need to learn to communicate with those people. It’s not an ability that we’re all born with.
How do you alleviate the stress of interacting with clients when you’re just starting out? Well, first things first, be prepared and confident to speak your mind. If you’re not confident, the subject won’t be confident in you. Going hand in hand with this confidence is knowing exactly what you want to see from your photos.
Now, obviously it takes a long time to know how light will interact how you think it will. Being able to creatively light your subject is something that separates professionals from amateurs.
What will make that much easier is drawing our your lighting diagrams ahead of time.
This doesn’t even remotely guarantee that you’ll get the results that you want. When you're starting out, the good ideas you have away from the studio don't always translate to great shots in the studio. But this does force you to think about what lights you’re using, and how you’re using that light.
Most photographers rely on the same basic lighting set ups for a variety of shots. If you draw out your diagrams and keep trying new things, you’ll always be headed in a new creative direction and you’ll learn loads along the way.
This fantastic piece from Petapixel.com shows how to create 7 different headshots with only one background and one subject. While the lighting set ups can be duplicated and probably should be duplicated, the absolute biggest takeaway from this is seeing the process that a successful professional takes to create new looks.
Shooting 7 Headshots on 1 Wall with 1 Model
A few weeks ago, I decided to do a practice shoot with our friend Kayla. My goal was to use a small wall in our studio and really explore the subtlety of light changes. So I diagramed 7 photos (one didn’t work, another is represented twice) and shot Kayla in front of the wall using the sketched diagrams.
Whenever I do practice shoots, I use our friends or clients. I prefer to shoot people who don’t have tons of experience in front of the camera because it forces me to work the subject and really create the look I want. While established models can be excellent for creating beautiful images, I find that I learn more with real subjects.
For the first image in the series, I wanted to play with varying degrees of fill light and the dimensional effects that it can have. I chose to have a pretty strong fill light (only about 1 stop under the key light). I ended up moving my key light to the left because it worked better for the part in her hair. Here the key light really helps open up the side of the face that is in shadow because of her hair.
Read full article at PetaPixel “Shooting 7 Headshots on 1 Wall with 1 Model”
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(cover photo credit: snap from PetaPixel)