In the world of professional photography, headshots hold a special place. They are crucial for business professionals, actors, and even job seekers. To delve deeper into the art of capturing the perfect headshot, we sat down with David, a photogpher with more then 10 years of experience and an expert in the field and asked him for tips about headshots.
Here’s what he had to say about headshot tips.
Interviewer: Before we start to dive in about Headshots and the tips – do you consider the new AI Headshots a threat or a chance?
That’s a great question. I believe AI headshots present both a threat and an opportunity. On one hand, they could be seen as a threat because they can generate headshots quickly and inexpensively, which could potentially reduce the demand for professional photographers.
On the other hand, they also present an opportunity. AI-generated headshots, while impressive, still lack the personal touch and creative vision that a professional photographer brings to the table. They can’t replicate the rapport a photographer builds with a subject during a shoot, which often leads to more authentic and engaging photos.
Interviewer: What’s the first thing you consider when setting up for a headshot session?
David: The first thing I consider is the setup. It’s crucial to have a clean, white backdrop, which we achieve with a background light. We also use a key light positioned at a 45-degree angle and above to the left of the subject, a reflector on the right side to fill in shadows, and a rim light behind the subject for a nice highlight. This setup ensures a consistent, professional look.
Interviewer: What camera settings do you typically use for headshots?
David: For the highest quality image, I recommend keeping the ISO as low as possible, typically around ISO 100. An aperture of f/4 at 85mm ensures the whole face is in focus while still providing a slightly shallow depth of field. A shutter speed of 1/125th of a second avoids any shake and ensures the camera syncs with the flash.
Interviewer: Posing seems to be a critical aspect of headshot photography. Can you share some tips?
David: Absolutely. Posing is crucial in headshot photography. First, I use tape marks on the floor to guide the subject where to stand. This ensures consistency in the shots. I then encourage the subject to have a straight spine, level shoulders, and a slight pivot towards the light. The front shoulder should be dipped down a touch. The subject’s chin should not be pointed towards the floor or the ceiling, and the eye level should be straight to the camera. The head should be level and straight.
Interviewer: How do you guide your subjects to get the right expression?
David: Expression is a key element in headshots. I encourage the subject to give a selection of serious and lighter expressions. Headshots should still have some personality in them. It’s about capturing the essence of the person, not just their physical appearance.
Interviewer: What happens after the shoot?
David: After the shoot, I let the subjects choose their preferred headshot. This gives them control and ensures they are happy with the final result. I do this by tethering my camera to a computer and letting them sift through the shots, or by creating contact sheets in Photoshop.
Interviewer: Any final tips for those looking to improve their headshot photography?
David: Practice, practice, practice. And remember, communication is key. Make sure you’re listening to your subject and making them feel comfortable. The more relaxed they are, the better the headshot will be.
In conclusion, professional headshot photography requires a balance of technical skills, artistic vision, and the ability to direct and communicate with your subjects. With these tips and techniques, you can capture high-quality, professional headshots every time.