Headshot Lighting


TPF Noob!
Apr 8, 2007
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Norfolk, VA.
Can others edit my Photos
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It's probably been 15 years since I've shot a corporate head shot but I need to practice. I have landed a gig where I will shoot around 200 corporate head shots over the next year or so.

So... this is my lighting setup (taken in my little dining room). I am using a soft box and a reflector for the main lighting. Looking at them myself, I think I might need a little bit of lighting on the hair (but I'm torn there). I also need to take a little more time on the reflector. The far side is a little weak.

The photos are of my daughters, a my best friend and "wild man", who always keeps us going. The color shot of me was taken by my oldest daughter and I (as part of this head shot contract) have to include one of myself. So... I coached her into it. She thought it was funny because I had a shirt (2 buttons buttoned) a tie, jacket and PJ's on!

C&C Welcomed.


$light Test.jpg
By the way... on my daughters shots, I'm not really interested in the poses (I know about the hair thing and my oldest goofing off), it's a lighting and cropping think for the guys.

And these will be color (used) mostly. I converted to B&W for print purposes.
<hummm... a lot of "look-e-loos"; no comments>
Some things to play with, but not necessarily implement unless you like the look.

-Rimlight (back light shooting into model)
-White reflector in front of model laying flat on table

That's about all I can think of at the moment.

Check out this awesome corp lighting by the mad pimp of love himself, Dave Tejada. Link here. He's talking about using a portable dvd player for reviewing photos...ignore that and check out his lighting...good stuff.
Thanks for the input... I use the exact same setup... exactly!

I need to play with the reflector. I have a very tiny dining room and I was just getting the basics down. I have more work to do.
The color one looks well lit, I might give it a little more light to make it look corporate.

These are good shots for the author picture on the back of a book, but maybe a little more light, and less contrast for a corporate setting..?

I am going to add a rim light from behind to brighten it up a smidge.

I walked into the door tonight ready to take my time and fine tune the lighting on my commercial shoot. I was met (my gear still in the cases) by my first client and he said he was going out of town in the morning and could I please take his shot tonight [soon] because he needed to get out of there. I grabbed my stuff and threw it together quickly and shot him without making any changes to the lighting hardly from my test (in the OP). So, for continuity sake, I'm kinda stuck and can't change things drastically. I guess the next 300 shots I take in this campaign will look pretty much like these. And I promise that I won't bore you all with all 300 or so shots (because they will start looking the same soon).

But, here you are (if you care) with the setup shot. Notice the ghetto snoot on the hair light. I needed to improvise!


I stumbled across a damn good link recently on portraiture. I thought I saved it in my favorites, but alas, it's not there. I'll have a dig around and try to locate.

As far as your first guy and the setup. If you have a year to complete this project, I'm thinking you can nail down the lighting setup you want and then reshoot him. Also, are you intending to have cutoffs on all? Seems to me corporate would rather have a 'standard' headshot for their purposes.

Certainly this is a golden opportunity to get creative with your models and potential huge sales on individuals. Good luck.
Yeah, what's with the crop? A corporate headshot usually includes the whole head.

Those are great, except for the crop.
I am intentionally cropping these images hard because of the modernization of this campaign (These are about half of the original shot). The association that hired me wants to get out of the "70's" as far as the look and feel of the way the association is perceived.

They do not want "classic" head shots per say (even though they're shot that way). They want a modern interpretation of something classic and as far opposite of an Olan Mills shot as they can possibly get.
Just thought I'd share again: This is the original copy of one of those head shots. This is more of the classic "the doctor is in" photos (by the way... this guy happens to be a doctor).

So I know that I am going against tradition here, but the client and I have decided on the other look (above). And thanks again for all of you that have taken the time to respond. I do appreciate your comments.


$Sam Web Copy.jpg

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