Head Shot Advice

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by isouter, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. isouter

    isouter TPF Noob!

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    Hi all,

    So -- I'm a long-time photo addict (mostly landscape and abstracts). I've always loved taking pics of people, but hate "posing" people -- the results always look so contrived to me. I've also tended to prefer natural light over studio lighting.

    I've been asked by quite a few people to take headshots for them, but am quite unfamiliar with the arena.

    Here's what I'm thinking of doing (any advice/criticism would be greatly appreciated):
    - Take the client out towards the earlier part of the morning (I am at the beach, so it, unfortunately can't be too early, because of the morning haze).
    - Get one of those big light reflectors to get a nice soft light on their face (and get rid of any unwated shadows)
    - Use a yellow filter (for a slight increase in eye contrast (yup -- b/w)
    - Possibly use a fill flash (any recommendations on a make to buy? I'm using a Canon EOS w/ T-Max 400 (is that right for this type of photography?))
    - I'd like to take the subject to an area with a nice mid to mid-dark range, textured surface that will provide nice contrast to the face, and possibly some (blurry) depth to the picture (like bricks -- nothing too busy)
    - I have the Canon 35-90mm lense that came with the camera and also a 35-300 lense (I'm afraid I can't remember the make right now) I was wondering -- would you guys go for the cooler depth of field that I'd get with the long lense, or the quickness/sharpness that I'd get with the Canon? Because I don't necessarily like making models sit in poses, then I tend to rely on timing for my pics.

    Also, what's a fair price to ask? (I'm in LA, by the way.) Because I'm new to this, I will not be requiring full payment unless the client is happy with the results, but I also don't want to be unfair to myself.


    I REALLY appreciate you guys' input.


    Thanks a lot,

    Ian
     
  2. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Looks llike good ideas to me. Most of my portraits are done at either 80mm or 85mm or 135mm. When I was using film, my 85/1.8 was my lens of choice.

    I can't answer about pricing, though. It all depends on your area.
     
  3. isouter

    isouter TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, Markc...

    By the way -- I checked out your site and really like your pics. They look great! Are they all digital? If not, what scanner did you use? I'm using a Polaroid SprintScan, but tend to get a strange "aura" around high-contrast areas... wierd.


    I'm in the LA area, for anyone who knows the market out here (for headshot prices).
     
  4. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I agree with Mark that 80mm to 135mm is about the right focal length for headshots (with 35mm gear). Since you are using a reflector, you may not even need a fill flash. Put the sun at 10:00 or 2:00 (camera at 6:00, subject in middle of "clock"), and then use the reflector somewhere about 3:00 or 9:00, on the opposite side from the sun.

    Watch out for blue make up (around eyes) and the yellow filter. You might try a yellow green, as that also increases lip/skin contrast. Although it can also cause problems with ruddy skin. A straight green filter is commonly used for mens' portraits.
     
  5. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Thanks. I'm using a Canon 10D now, but was using an EOS 5. The older stuff (color landscapes) are on an Elan. The scanner is an Acer Scanwit 2720S I use with VueScan.
     

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