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 Post subject: Head Shots-HELP PLZ!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 5:48 am 
BOOM! [:-P]

I've been asked to do some headshots for an amateur actor. Now I love taking profile pictures of my friends casually, most of the time candidly, but have never done professional work.
heres some examples of what I've done for fun:
http://photos-b.ak.facebook.com/photos- ... 1_2830.jpg
http://photos-600.ll.facebook.com/photo ... 5_7268.jpg
http://photos-600.ll.facebook.com/photo ... 6_7589.jpg
http://photos-600.ll.facebook.com/photo ... 3_7099.jpg
http://photos-g.ak.facebook.com/photos- ... 0_4848.jpg
http://photos-b.ak.facebook.com/photos- ... 3_7906.jpg

I have the 12-60mm 2.8-4.0 on my Olympus 510, which I think should be great for these photos, but I also have a 40-150mm 3.5-4.5, though I cant imagine it being a better profile camera.
I also have the Metz 48 flash.


What can you guys tell me about taking professional headshots? He will be informed that this is my first time, but I still want to know what I'm doing and be in charge of the shoot.

Also, how much should I charge?


any advice is appreciated!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:03 pm 
It's very clear that you need to learn how to understand lighting. If I were being generous, only one of your images shown barely cuts the mustard. Equipment doesn't matter; knowledge does.

What else can I tell you? Get a brief from your client so you know what to aim for unless you get given carte blanche (obviously he needs one for a portfolio, therefore keep it clean, simple in composition, conservative/dramatic lighting), interaction with the model, and did I tell you about lighting?

I won't even begin to explain lighting. It's not something that can be done in one post, let alone some books. You need to experience it and learn from playing with it.

And if you want an answer as to what to charge - I'll not give a straight answer. You really should be browsing around the competition and undercut by a little when you're starting off. It's not that you can't charge as much, but from a marketing perspective, it's a good way to lure new clients.

You need lots of good luck and I wish you it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:44 pm 
can you tell me which one you think is the only semi decent one? is it the last one? thats the only one i had my flash for.

and like i said, these were all candids.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:17 am 
allow me to be brutally criticizing on this one...

if i were you since this is your first time, i wouldn't charge.


#4 would be the only acceptable shot for me.




#1 could've definitely used some sort of fill flash. for that you might want the model to take off her glasses. also, the background seems a bit blown out and the picture is extremely noisy and that shade string on the right is a bit distracting, it should've been cropped out on the final version.

#2 looks like she's about to say something. while it makes for an interesting capture as a candid, it's bad headshot of the person- not at all flattering. and that guy to the right should've been cropped out of the picture.

#3 looks as if the crop is way to tight on the face. to me, when someone crops out the forehead and the chin- it gives an appearance as if your model is wearing a helmet. the picture is again, okay for a candid, but shouldnt be considered as a headshot as it totally cuts off important parts of the head. also for headshots if possible, take the model's glasses off, portraits are given power with the model's eyes- something in front of the eyes can either help or destroy the picture.

#4 commented above.

#5 is okay, however that bright hotspot on his head is extremely distracting. the flash should've been used in this shot, as the eyes are pretty much given the effect as if they're recessed into the back of his head..

#6 the flash created a bright hotspot on the model's face. you must find a way to diffuse the flash or bounce it off of something. i think the vertical crop would have been appropriate for this shot because the gold chain leads the eye somewhere and then stops because of the crop. the background is okay, but the hotspots definitely put the picture in the "no" pile.


sorry if this is harsh, but if you're charging people already- i think you MAY be getting a bit ahead of yourself. you don't want your models to show another photographer shots like these only to have the other shooter go, "WHAT?! YOU PAID FOR THESE?!!!"

the only thing you should charge them for is prints if they ask for it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:26 am 
Atomic wrote:
can you tell me which one you think is the only semi decent one? is it the last one? thats the only one i had my flash for.

and like i said, these were all candids.


palakaboy's answered for me as to which just about scrapes through - the focus isn't quite right though with the eyes being the least sharp of the facial features.

The last image demonstrates a very rudimentary strobe use (i.e. direct fill). Try exploring ways to modify light - off-cam techniques, softboxes, diffusers etc.

Candid or not, it doesn't really change the quality of the images. I tried to be kind, but Palakaboy has given you an even more candid assessment, and it's closer to the mark.

I still advocate that you go about learning your lighting.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 4:46 pm 
thanks guys. Ill practice some more.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 5:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 6:32 pm
Posts: 154
Location: UK
shoot outside on a bright day if you havent got access or dont want to use any lighting sets. a bright day is good becaouse you wont get flashhotspots. (and is cheaper than softboxes etc :) )
Also, when shooting headshots, i (emhasise "i") find it best to go for a full face, (shoulder/chest up) agains a sky (for outside) or plain background :)

( tell me if my advice is a load of bol***s)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 5:28 pm 
Robodent wrote:
shoot outside on a bright day if you havent got access or dont want to use any lighting sets. a bright day is good becaouse you wont get flashhotspots...

( tell me if my advice is a load of bol***s)


It is!

What general wisdom dictates is that one should avoid bright days and embrace the cloudy days. Clouds act as a giant diffuser/softbox and you'll get softer shadows and more even lighting.

You can also achieve great results on bright days, but you'll probably need to have mastered the basics of controlling lighting in order to avoid the extremes of harsh highlights and shadows.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:50 pm 
Robodent wrote:
shoot outside on a bright day if you havent got access or dont want to use any lighting sets. a bright day is good becaouse you wont get flashhotspots. (and is cheaper than softboxes etc :) )
Also, when shooting headshots, i (emhasise "i") find it best to go for a full face, (shoulder/chest up) agains a sky (for outside) or plain background :)

( tell me if my advice is a load of bol***s)


not with your camera buddy.

the flash sync is at 1/250th of sec i believe, so not even the fill flash can save your models faces from being destroyed by the sun's powerful downward beam. you might be able to shoot at a small aperture, however, you wont get that nice non distracting background.

a shot on a bright day can yield some strange results-
check out this shot i did- bright day 1PM.
http://i298.photobucket.com/albums/mm27 ... 7453-1.jpg
compared to one i shot in the shade using the same fill flash
http://i298.photobucket.com/albums/mm27 ... mile-1.jpg

when the suns too bright i often take my models to someplace indoors or into the shade, i meter for bright background- then use a fill flash.

+1 on learning lighting- not only will Photoj's advice lead you down the correct path, but it will yield better results leading to happier customers- which is free publicity.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:38 pm 
http://strobist.blogspot.com/ is a great resource for learning about all aspects of lighting.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:37 am 
Don't use wide angle lenses! Unless you're shooting wide and pushing tight!

A telephoto is a better choice, since they are known for a "compression effect" shoot racked out (zoomed all the way in) for the most compression. shoot in A-mode so you control the aperture, bounce flash for the best results. Reflectors and diffusors can be expensive, but some makeshift materials will work. Also try to shoot RAW, you can have more flexibility to edit and enhance.

You can charge differently, charge per-print, per-hour, or a flat rate for the whole shoot.

I use the excellent Nikon 70-200mm and the 85mm f/1.8 and three SB-800s fitted with softboxes for on-location portraits.

Good Luck :D


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