Headshot Critique

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ppc_michael, May 23, 2009.

  1. ppc_michael Guest

    ppc_michael

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #1
    Photography is just a hobby of mine, but my roommate, an acting student, asked me to take some headshots just because I work in network television so I've seen a lot of them.

    Attached is basically straight from my camera, and I'd like your input, please. Ideally focusing on the technical aspects, as his expression, clothing, etc, were what he wanted for some reason and not my choice.

    Also, how much retouching should I do? I think I should take out the chapped lips and veins in his eyes for sure, but what about things like freckles, stubble, pores, etc? I don't know where the line is between looking nice and being honest to the talent department about what they're going to get.

    And of course, I have advised him to have professional headshots done when he gets more serious about acting. ;)

    Thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #2
    This is just a minor point, but what's the lens? The shaky bokeh makes me think of a kit lens. Looks like a 7 bladed lens as well.
     
  3. ppc_michael thread starter Guest

    ppc_michael

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #3
    It's a Canon 50mm f/1.8 prime. Cheap lens, yes.
     
  4. wheezy macrumors 65816

    wheezy

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Alpine, UT
    #4
    Cheap, but still a good lens.

    The eyes and face are the most important and that's where it's lacking. The main part of his face is darkest, and the direct sun on his right cheek is overpowering.

    It's a good start, the shadows are nice, but I think you need to reverse them... his face needs to be bright, cheeks need to be darker. You're drawn to his eyes cause they're in the middle, not cause they're the best lit. Light the eyes, get a catchlight in there. Do you have a reflector?
     
  5. ppc_michael thread starter Guest

    ppc_michael

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #5
    Thanks for the very useful pointers, wheezy.

    For that photo I had a friend hold up a white piece of paper for a reflector, but as you can see it only really bounced into the side of his face, not the front like you say needs to be lit.

    That's a great point about a catchlight. For this photo I guess I'll just have to add it in Photoshop, but obviously it won't look as nice as if I had actually done it.

    Thanks! I'm learning things already.

    What about skin details? How much should I leave in and take out?
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    A light application of a Photoshop blur filter on the background will fix that issue with the 7-blade thing.

    The lighting ratio may be pushing the limit. Is the one side of the face blown out? I can't tell in the thumbnail. You may need to go down a 1/2 stop or so and add some fill with a big white reflector board.

    As to how much retouching? I think anything that is "temporary" can be brushed out. Skin defects and so on are "temporary".

    There is an argument that says "anything goes" with models. What they are selling is not them self but photographs of them selves. They are in effect saying "Hire me and you can have photos that look this good." not "I look like this." You would expect any advertising photo to be heavily retouched. But actors? maybe different. But certainly the temporary can be removed.
     
  7. MacHipster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago/London/Sydney
    #7
    As a film producer, my opinion may be harsh, but it's a terrible headshot. The kid's expression makes him look like a jerk and the angle is odd. It's much better to have his face towards the camera and since he's still a youth, it's better to have him smiling. What types of roles is he searching for? As for the aesthetics to the photo itself, a casting agent or producer doesn't have the time to admire the photography as they'll be looking for a type and that's all.
     
  8. apearlman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Red Hook, NY
    #8
    Go inside.

    The best headshots I've seen were done in a studio. There really shouldn't be any background, blurred or otherwise, to draw attention away from the actor's face.

    I also agree with MacHipster's point about the subject's expression. As an actor, he should be very carefully attuned to what mood and personality he's projecting, and you might even want a few different expressions depending on the types of roles he wants.
     

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