First Attempt at Headshots - C&C appreciated!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by genshi, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. genshi macrumors 6502a

    genshi

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    #1
    Hello all,

    I had a friend ask me to do some test headshots of her to see if she can get any modeling interest going; she asked me because she liked my photography, though I had never done headshots before (I do mostly street photography and arty lofi stuff) so I would greatly appreciate any comments or constructive criticisms on these (we were going for just a very straight ahead shot, nothing fancy; looking more for comments on the technical aspects of these photos):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thanks again for any advice!
     
  2. genshi thread starter macrumors 6502a

    genshi

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    #2
    Or in other words, are these good enough to be used professionally? I guess that's what I'm asking as I have never done "studio" headshots before...
     
  3. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Location:
    In my imagination
    #3
    They aren't bad. Very simple which is nice.

    I'd say move her off of the wall, about three to four feet next time, especially if you're using natural light. That will prevent that shadow on the background or wall.

    Put the focus point on her face, or make sure her eyes are the sharpest thing in your frame.... I think that may actually be the web compression though.

    Lastly (for now), always take a portrait shot, that space on the sides isn't needed. Also get a little closer. My general rule of thumb for quick and dirty nat light head-shots is to do close up head, then bust, then waist. Look left, look right, looks straight ahead. Then when editing the subject gets all images B&W and color after I do some simple toning and sharpening.

    BAM! Head shots, less than 10 minutes, less than $100. :)
     
  4. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #4
    As the other poster said, portrait orientation is what you want, with tight framing and as much background distance as you can get. I wouldn't suggest using these, as the lighting doesn't seem to be right for her face here's some simple guidelines, but I'd suggest a portrait photography book http://www.photographers.co.uk/html/portrait-photography.cfm


    The first shot isn't lit well for a longer, thin face.
    The second shot's smile line on the left is blown, the lines aren't good anyway for modeling- so I'd go with much flatter lighting.
    The last shot again isn't lit well to flatter the model

    I prefer higher catchlights, which requires control of the lighting. I wouldn't try to use these as basic model shots- the combination of the face shape and longish nose mean that more flattering lighting will help significantly.

    The second shot shows she has personality, tighter in and with a little fill from the left to flatten it out, it'd be a great shot for modeling, as it is, it's a good shot of a friend.
     
  5. genshi thread starter macrumors 6502a

    genshi

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    #5
    Thanks Digital Skunk, very good advice.

    And thank you compuwar for your input as well. I didn't have much control over the lighting since it was all natural/available light (how did you know that Digital Skunk?) but also, instead of doing the typical glossy and overly polished headshots that I always seem to see, we were going for more of a natural, simple, almost gritty (but not really) look, so, at least on the first shot, I thought the lighting/exposure, etc. was ok... (though I may have over adjusted the toning?)

    This was done in a loft with floor to ceiling windows, but with the giant, slightly opaque, roman blind closed, giving a sort of massive softbox feel to the whole room.

    But yeah, I definitely should have been much tighter, shot portrait and away from the wall. Thanks again for your input!
     
  6. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #6
    Keep in mind where you crop. The hands were cut off in the last one.
     
  7. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Location:
    In my imagination
    #7
    No problem brother.

    Natural light portraits show when you do them a LOT. One of the biggest plusses my prof at uni taught us. She had us doing LOTS of nat light portraits in prep for the unholy job that is photojournalism.

    Next time, go for gritty, go for dirty. She looks like (esp. with that hair) she could be a real dirty girl when worked right (what I see anyway), even on a white background. And that's where you sorta get the term quick and dirty. When someone wants it that way, I lean toward the F*&* it let's shoot mentality where the only thing that I care about is proper lighting and composition.

    Or at least know that I won't have control over some aspects of the shoot.

    Toning is very important for head shots, especially Q&D ones. No real advice that I can give there. Make sure skin tones and whites and blacks are spot on, and sharpening is done gracefully.
     

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