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Tips for Headshot Photography

Tip N1. Get to know your client and their exact needs!

This is super important, and I have noticed, that many times it is ignored from many photographers.

So why is this important?

Because there are many cases, when, for example, I had clients, who needed the headshots for their company, which had specific requirements (such as the position of their company logo, the resolution of the image, the background color etc.) Also, it's a good idea to ask where exactly the headshots will be used? In some cases it's for LinkedIn or personal website or resumes, in other cases are for specific websites, as the case described above.

Tip N2. Ask for the location and offer options! Many times, clients don't exactly know which option will be better, and they may need your help. So in order to help them properly, 1st ask about their needs (See Tip N1.), then offer them multiple options, like In-Studio or Outdoors, with controlled lights or only ambient light etc. And it will be better if with each option you can show them some examples, so they can better understand, as the visual content is always easy and faster to consume.

Tip N3. Understand the lighting for headshots!

Lighting is Everything in Photography! Or, in other words, Photography is about Lighting - it's capturing the light! So doesn't matter the type of photography you are doing, you have to always pay attention to the correct lighting. That is especially true for portraits and headshots. In this case we discuss the Business/Corporate Headshots.

As almost an every beginner, years ago, I also used to start without any lighting, just using the Natural (ambient) light for doing portraits and headshots. However, the more I grew professionally, and the more experience I gained, and the more I learned, I understood for myself, that It's way more correct to use the controlled light rather than to rely on natural light. And here is why. 1st of all, just want to mention, that there is nothing wrong with natural light, and I still do it sometimes for certain types of casual/artistic portraits or lifestyle/street photography. However, the main issue with natural light is, that it is UNCONTROLLED! Which means, that we can't controlled neither the sun's directions or it's power, or the weather! So that's said, we are very limited with what we have given by the nature at that moment. In many cases, our client's might be in rush or have very tight schedule, so we need to get it done in certain day and time, and for that day and time the weather can be rainy, or cloudy, or the harsh sun etc. And we will struggle and get the results that we don't like that much.

I remember, one time, few years ago, it was one of my very first business headshots requests, and I did not use any lighting or even a reflector that time, we were shooting outdoor, and it was harsh sun, I took my client under some tree shade in that area, and later on in my computer I noticed many small light and shadow dots cause my the tree leaves, letting the sun from here and there.. After that case, I decided to myself, that I should have the full control of the light as much as it's possible.

So, if you currently don't have any lights or cant' afford, at least get a reflector, something as simple and affordable as this Once you have it, ask some friend to come with you on the photoshoot and hold it for you. If you have no one to assist you, then 2 choice: either pay someone to do that assisting job for like 30-40 minutes, or get a stand-holder for those reflectors and do it yourself. The issues with reflectors are that 1st of all they fully depend on available light, which means you can manage the direction but can't manage the power, and 2nd. they are very light, in case it's windy and you put them on stands.

Tip N4. What equipment to use for headshot photography?

As I mentioned in the Real Estate section, it all depends on your needs and budget. There is a huge verity of everything from very different brands. I will give you the list here of what I use, so if you can afford it, do some more research and go for it, or get better stuff. But most importantly, know how to use whatever you have !!!

So for camera wise and lens, I uses Canon 5D Mark IV with my

Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8 L II Lens for in Studio headshots, and for the outdoor headshots, I use either that same lens or my Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 L II lens.

For the lighting equipment, currently I use mostly Godox brand (which is pretty affordable for it's quality and costs way cheaper compared to Profoto or Broncolor). I use 3 different lights in Studio, 1 as key light, 1 as backlight from one side (and for the reflector) and one as a background light. Also, I use a very important triflector, which I got from BH Photo. It gives a very nice fill light towards the chin and chest are of the client, + nice catch lights in the eye.

The list of my main 3 lights are below:

Godox Gemini GS 400 II this one is not available currently, but you can find similar.

Now, AD 200 Pro, is one of my favorite lights, as it's super practical, and I use it a lot as a main light for my outdoor sessions, both for portraits and headshots. And in Studio, I mostly use it as a background light.

The Gemini GS 400II I mostly use as a side backlight for headshots in Studio.

Now about AD 600 Pro. This is a great and powerful light, and as 200 Pro, it is battery powered, and you can use it outdoors without any need of power outlets. However! It seems like this particular model's batteries are having issues, and many of them are deflective. 2 of my batteries died, I was able to "reincarnate" one of them and still using it, but the other one is gone. And many people having the same issue according to many reviews. Until Godox fix it, I would probably advise to go for Godox AD 400 Pro, which has less power, but is more affordable, and according to the reviews looks like its batteries are fine. For my AD 600 Pro, as I mostly use it in Studio, I got this Adapter, which is great and don't use the battery, but instead switch to power outlet.

One more very important thing! Of course, all those lights mentioned above, should not be operated bare bulb (in 95% of cases) but with softboxes, to soften the light on your subject's face.

I will mention here couple of softboxes I use in most cases.

For more in-depth advices connected with the actual process of the headshot photography, and how to use all the lighting gear mentioned above, join to our Classes and you will learn all you need to go out and start creating amazing headshots!

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