Help with Headshots

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by DigiJay, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. DigiJay

    DigiJay TPF Noob!

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    Hello,
    I'm taking some head shots for a friend tomorrow and photographing people is not my strong point, so I'm looking for a little help..

    Essentially, I'm trying to figure out the best set-up for me to use, with the equipment I currently have. Here's a list of everything I've got, I'm hoping someone could provide me with an idea of how to pull it all together.. lighting is a weak point for me.

    D200
    18-55 2.8
    18-200 4-5.5
    70-200 2.8

    SB600
    2x Slave Strobes
    2x 30" silver reflective umbrellas

    I'll be using a white backdrop.


    Oh, and please hold back comments such as "If you care about your friend, then tell him to find a professional head shot photographer".. I don't need those comments, thank you.
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For headshots take the 70-200 and leave all other lenses at home! The 18-200 kit is not the lens you want to use for high quality portraits. Ok take the 18-55mm with you but my guess is that at 55mm you'll still have quite a bit of perspective distortion when taking just a headshot. The 55mm range would be great for a 3/4 or full body shot.

    Someone else could chime in on lighting and other tips.
     
  3. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Head shots are also known under the portraiture nomenclature. Do a search a few threads down on portraits.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Also check up on editing - as far as I have worked out one has to edit people shots right to get the correct look to them - even basic ones. People are too used to seeing "shoped" photos of other people that that is the effect they want in their photos (note this is a general statment not meant to cover all people ;))
     
  5. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    For women especially try using 'butterfly' lighting which calls for one on-axis light above and a reflector right below the face, so that there is only a soft "butterfly-shaped" shadow under the nose. It's very flattering light and looks very 'clean.'
     
  6. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    As above but make sure you focus on the eyes at F8, here a quick sketch
    [​IMG]
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    At F/8, you should be able to get a lot in front of the eyes and a lot behind the eyes and STILL have the eyes in focus. F/8 has a pretty deep DOF.

    "Oh, and please hold back comments such as "If you care about your friend, then tell him to find a professional head shot photographer".. I don't need those comments, thank you."

    You aren't doing their wedding by any chance are you? :lol:
     
  8. DigiJay

    DigiJay TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice so far, much appreciated.


    Hahaha No! A friend (guy) is entering in some amateur band contest and they need headshots of all the contestants. To be honest, he could probably get away with using a P+S while standing in front of a white wall, but I figured this would be a great opportunity to practice for myself.
     
  9. EPhoto8

    EPhoto8 TPF Noob!

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    I agree, use the 70-200 to avoid distortion in the face. Soft lighting and focus on the eyes. Also shoot from above, slightly looking down twords the subject. Eye contact is a must!
     
  10. Breanna

    Breanna TPF Noob!

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    Personally, I find headshots to be fairly easy, so I doubt you will have trouble with it. I always do mine outside with natural light, which may be a cop-out. haha. You've already received good advice when it comes to studio lighting, but if you wanted to try outdoors, time it for about an hour before sun-down. I find a background with solid but vibrant color (grass, reeds, large flower bed), have the person squat down, which will feel stupid to them but oh well, and shoot looking down on them, while they look up at you. You can play with facial angels.
     

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