I have been photographing headshots for TNS for sometime now and thought I would just jot down a little bit about what goes into a shoot such as this. It is something which I quite enjoy doing as it brings me into contact with people whom I ordinarily wouldn’t have met!
Headshots are becoming increasingly popular with large corporates as it is a great way to show the human element of the company. Including a headshot in an email signature, or as part of an employee profile online, is an excellent way for their own clients to see who it is that they are dealing with. It helps establish a connection which is often difficult to do in an age of email and conference calls. It is also being used more and more for LinkedIn profile pictures. Gone are the days when a photo of yourself at a braai, shirt off and beer in hand, is deemed acceptable when marketing yourself online via social networking.
Most of the headshots I do are on location at whichever clients offices. This is often the case as it is less disruptive for them, and near impossible to get everyone together at my studio half way across town. Now most offices are not setup or designed as photo studios! Their ceilings can be too low, rooms a touch too small, or may not have enough or any power points. Luckily I have shot a lot at TNS so I know exactly what I am up against, but for new venues a pre shoot visit is highly recommended. You will be surprised what challenges may face you and it is always better to discover those challenges before hand and not on the day!
The above is a typical room I would be assigned for a shoot like this. In fact this is luxury! There is plenty of space with no major obstacles or problems. The furniture in the room is also light and easily movable. So the first thing would be to shift all the non essential items to one side and start setting up your makeshift studio. I have included a photo below so that you can get an idea of what it might look like once setup!
Now which lights and modifiers to use is probably a whole post on its own, but there are just a few things I want to point out from the above. If you are lighting the backdrop separately to the subject (as above) then you will want there to be a decent amount of space between the subject and the background. The main reason for this is to prevent the background from throwing any light back onto the subject and affecting your exposure. I had 2 meters of space here which is what I normally aim for, but sometime can’t achieve because of venue constraints. Thanks to the inverse square law the light reflected off of the background will have fallen off too much in two meters to make a difference. One thing to note is that when shooting backdrops of colour, particularly jade green and red, 2 meters might not be enough of a gap to prevent the colour of the background effecting the colour of your subject. Just bare that in mind as you don’t want to have to be doing any unnecessary post production removing unwanted colour casts!
Above are a few pics from the shoot. Nice clean images – just how I like them!