New headshots

adamhiram

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It has been a few years since I updated my formal headshot, so I figured it was time to take a new one. I configured the lighting and setup the shot myself, but asked another photographer to press the shutter to ensure I was in sharp focus. I reused the lighting setup from this school photo shoot, but swapped the painted canvas backdrop for gray seamless paper, and used a single light positioned behind the subject to create a grid spot. I took shots both with and without glasses to give some options, as well as give me some eyes to composite into the shot with glasses if needed to correct for glare, although that wasn't necessary here.

Lighting setup
  • Key: I used a 38” octobox (technically a dodecabox) somewhere between loop and Rembrandt lighting. My goal was to shape the face withe a significant amount of shadow, and create a pleasing single catchlight.
  • Fill: My go-to modifier for fill is a 42” white reflector, moved close enough to give a 2:1 key/fill ratio. I find that a white reflector is a great way to brighten shadow detail without adding a noticeable 2nd catchlight in the eyes, as you would see with a silver reflector or separate light source.
  • Background: I positioned a strobe behind the subject with a 7" reflector and 20° grid to create a central grid spot on the background. The backdrop is a roll of seamless paper in Fashion Gray. I had an 86" wide roll setup, although I would typically use the more convenient 53" roll for such a tight shot
The shots below are 4x5 crops (8x10), but I shot wide enough to facilitate other common crops for headshots such as 4x6 and 1x1. Processed in Lightroom with light retouching in Photoshop.

Nikon Z6II with 85mm f/1.8 lens
85mm, f/8, 1/200s


20211010-DSC_4330a-8x10 by adamhiram, on Flickr


20211010-DSC_4336a-8x10 by adamhiram, on Flickr
 

smoke665

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Surprised no one has commented yet. Selfies (even with an assistant) are really hard to capture everything as you want. You've done an admirable job on this. Hands down, I think the one with the glasses is the money shot, it gives you that more distinguished business look. Lighting is good as is processing. Only niggle I have on the glasses shot is the head tilt. Adjusting your crop level about -2 degrees IMO makes a more pleasing image, but maybe that's just me???
 

jcdeboever

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Really nice work. Handsome lighting, nice and even with a hint of contrast. Good skin texture. Nice clarity and image fidelity. Spot on with the glasses. I wasn't sure on the head tilt at first but the more I looked at it, I think it exhibits confidence.
 
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adamhiram

adamhiram

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Surprised no one has commented yet. Selfies (even with an assistant) are really hard to capture everything as you want. You've done an admirable job on this. Hands down, I think the one with the glasses is the money shot, it gives you that more distinguished business look. Lighting is good as is processing. Only niggle I have on the glasses shot is the head tilt. Adjusting your crop level about -2 degrees IMO makes a more pleasing image, but maybe that's just me???
Thanks, William! In this case, I was working with another photographer who does natural light family and lifestyle photography, so we were speaking the same language. I explained my posing goals, expressions, and lighting that I was going for so I had someone to provide minor feedback during the shoot that was immensely helpful.

As for the head tilt, I agree, and I think the subtle edit below fixes this.


20211010-DSC_4336b-8x10 by adamhiram, on Flickr
 
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adamhiram

adamhiram

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Really nice work. Handsome lighting, nice and even with a hint of contrast. Good skin texture. Nice clarity and image fidelity. Spot on with the glasses. I wasn't sure on the head tilt at first but the more I looked at it, I think it exhibits confidence.
Thank you! I started using the adjustment brush in LR with the "Soften Skin (Lite)" preset rather than taking the extra time to do frequency separation in PS, and I have been pretty happy with the results. It just reduces texture and clarity, and with auto mask enabled, does a pretty good job of looking natural (and is pretty easy to back off if it goes too far). The rest of the retouching was done in PS.

Glasses were an area where I planned ahead to have versions with no glasses to composite the eyes from, but in this case having someone else take the photo and using modeling lights made it really easy to just avoid the glare in the first place. I had to do a minor edit, but nothing noticeable.
 

smoke665

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As for the head tilt, I agree, and I think the subtle edit below fixes this.
Sometimes the devil is in the details. It wasn't much when I downloaded the image to check, less than 2 degrees tilt on the level, but that subtle difference also drops the back shoulder some. I'm old school on the masculine pose - head tilted to the low shoulder and perpendicular to the shoulder line.

As you've illustrated good lighting takes you a long way on the skin editing.
 

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