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Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by waloshin, Apr 15, 2012.
Is this a bad, good or decent headshot?
Generally, I do not critique photos, due to my youth and all, but I like it! One negative aspect that stands out is the shadows behind the ears. Other than that, it is ok!
Check this out. Do not your direct flash for a head shot unless you're using a beauty dish or a circular flash, and even then only for certain reason. Bounce your flash / use indirect lighting to get better photos.
Of course you're lighting is in front of and above your subject. Try and use lighting from the sides and no lower than head level. Move him away from your back drop to reduce the shadows from the wall if any. Try at least 3-4 feet if not 6+. Heck that's about the main thing here, move your subject away from the backdrop and use indirect lighting. Keep shooting.
Neil here is one of the best at teaching lighting, start with his on camera flash book or follow along with his tutorials on his blog. All the material in the book is on his site if you don't want to pay for it in one location.
This photo is using bounce flash while exposing for the background. Own your light.
For a good while the question you probably want to be asking is "how do I improve this headshot?"
As ericvmazzone mentions above, getting your subject further away from the background will remove the shadows on the wall. Instead of using a really long shutter speed (1/4!) open up your aperture more, f/11 isn't necessary, as your subject's shoulders, etc. don't really need to be in focus. As long as the eyes are in focus, people won't really be too bothered about shallow depth of field in a headshot.
Lighting is another thing to work on, and your direct, on-camera flash should probably be used only for fill light; if the main light is aimed directly at your subject you'll get a very flat image.
Also, try experimenting with different subject positions, and consider using a longer lens if you've got it (longer lenses are preferred for headshots to reduce perspective distortion, as you can fill the frame while standing farther away from your subject).
It is a good mugshot, not so much as a headshot.
No emotion, very flat. I am not even talking about the lighting that isn't flattering. You can't look like a serial killer when taking a head shot. Plus self headshots don't work.
If I am applying for a job that requires a photo of me would that image be fine or should I hire a professional photographer to get a better one?
What job are you going for that you need a head shot?
It's a reality t.v show that needs people to make sure that there competitions work properly. And while testing the course the crew films to see what are the best angles before the actual contestants do the run.
Kinda like a production assistant. I am thinking of just leaving the picture out. There is no concrete answer if a picture is necessary or not.
I think generally it is a better idea to not include a photo for a job application, but perhaps the television industry is different. You should try to go outdoors or near a window for more natural light.
If you need a photo, don't use this one. It's a bad headshot. Park yourself in front of window facing the sky on a bright day (that way you'll get diffused light). Window should be about 45º in front of you, with the background at least 4 metres behind you. Shoot at f/2 or 2.8 and then turn it into a BW to get rid of the cyan colour cast. That will be cheaper than a pro, and better than this shot.
Good Luck with the job.
If you're interviewing for To Catch a Predator then it is an excellent head shot!
If you do want to include a photo in your resume I strongly advice you to get it done professionally. If you don't want to do this it may be better to not include a photograph in your resume.
For resume portraits it pays to have the portraitee well dressed and groomed (not only if applying for a management position!). For an editor's assistant position, you probably want to leave the suit out, but I'd definitely wear a decent, light coloured, plain business shirt without tie.
My critique of the particular portrait you provide:
- lighting from camera flash is quite unflattering. It also creates a hard shadow behind you on the wall (increase distance to wall) and under your chin.
--> You'd want to have a simple two softbox lighting. Nothing too fancy, simple and professional. A professional photographer can do that if you don't have the gear to do it yourself.
- your posture seems a bit hunched to me. Maybe it's the shadow under your chin which creates this illusion maybe you're actually hunching. Posture is very important on a subconscious level. A good portrait photographer will have a bag of tricks to get good posture in the final image.
- cropping could be improved. you crop your shoulders off as well as the neck line of your t-shirt.
- groom your hair a bit. I have about the same quality of hair as you and don't like to use hair products every day, but it just looks a bit scruffy. So just for the sake of the photograph, use just a bit of hair mousse to control the hair around the ears and the fringes at the forehead.
To get an idea of simple, professional, no-nonsense-portraits, just do a google image search for "business portrait". Notice the posture, the lighting (quality, direction), the cropping.
In the end, I think it's worth it to commission a professional photographer and get some decent shots. Bring different clothes so you'll end up with a set of images that suit different positions (Shirt, shirt with suit, t-shirt etc).
ericvmazzone has brought up another image as an example. But remember to keep the background plain white or grey for a resume photo! No fancy backgrounds!
I wouldn't necessarily run and have a professional photographer shoot headshots of you. Maybe show a little more emotion in your image. I would definitely eliminate any shadows whatsoever. Did you just use the pop up flash on your camera? Do you have access to a top mount flash? Are you shooting this with a P&S camera or a DSLR?
I'd say generally if a job does not specifically ask for a photo, then don't provide one. I don't know how the film industry works but generally what you look like does not have any bearing on your eligibility for employment.
DSLR. No access to a top mount flash. And it looks like I wont need a photo after all unless they phone for one.
Example of better lighting near a window:
Self-portrait by Melissa.O.Anderson, on Flickr
Should have used a tripod, but it was just for fun anyways. Try taking a bunch of photos until you find one you like.
Better than Waloshin's in his 1st post, and please don't take this the wrong way, but there is still room for improvement - mostly with the background. The lighting on your face is fine. Shows the features fine, and appears to be colour correct. Shows the eyes nicely. The background for me is an issue. It should be out-of-focus and/or a different tone than your skin. If you had stepped one big step forward it may have been enough to throw it out of the DoF. Closing the aperture down a stop for two would have guaranteed it. If you needed to increase the overall exposure because you were stepping away from the light then you would have had a very nice overexposed, underfocussed background that would have made your face the centre of attention.
The parka/scarf thing adds some interest... makes the viewer ask what the story is. However, the hair and earring need to be either much neater or much messier. The 1st for a more formal look - as if you are heading out, and the 2nd to show that you have just come in from some raging storm outside. As it is, it just looks like you grabbed a shot on the way out the door without spending any time getting things right.
I know that you didn't ask for a critique... sorry. But you did offer this as an example of how to do a headshot, and I think Waloshin needed something less casual and more professional had he wanted to use a photo for his application.
You can rent a top mount flash from several reputatable sites if you are interested. The place I use most frequently is http://www.lensprotogo.com/
Just another option if you're interested.
Thanks, critique is always welcome. You are correct, I was about to run out the door, so I was just holding the camera with one arm using the swivel LCD-screen to try to center the shot. A difficult thing to do with an SLR and tiny little arms like mine. There are many things that could use improvement, but I was just trying to show how a simple thing like standing near a window can improve the lighting. Good things to point out for people who want to do a headshot the proper way.
Some people also photograph better. You can pull off the self shot, others need to be forced to take a good picture. The camera and lighting are only as good as the subject.
Damn good shot for self-portrait-grab-shot, and you're right about the window light.
I figure the Prairies or north of 60. Only places that got cold enough this year for a parka and scarf, eh?
Yeah, but she took the grab shot February 10,2011. Would that have made it cold enough?
Oh, and the perfect head shot is a single bullet between the eyes.
February 2011.... hmm ... that winter it was cold enough just about everywhere in Canada.... even we had some sub-zero (C) temperatures.... Normally we can get several years out of your annual flowers.