Monthly Archives: Sep 2017

Head shot Background, what choice do you have?

Head shot Background

For a head shot background there are a lot of choices. In view of this only a few of these are regularly used.

White Backgrounds

Head shot BackgroundWhen looking for a background for professional head-shots the stock standard background for most is the white background and looks good for anyone, male or female.

As this is a head-shot all you need is a white background large enough to cover the head and shoulders. If you want to do this yourself you need white card or white foam backed card (gives you a bit more stiffness). As it’s a head-shot the card only needs to be large enough to cover the head and shoulders. You could use a white screen if you have one or a white painted wall.

For best results use your flash off camera, this will eliminate red eye in the photos.


Black Backgrounds

Head shot BackgroundBlack as a background is not common as this is a little more tricky to light or rather not light. As this is a black background we want the backdrop to absorb the light and not make the background show up. In order to do this the subject needs to stand far enough in-front of the background so that the light only falls on the subject.

This again could be black card or foam card or black cloth like Felt.

Natural Backgrounds

Head shot BackgroundFor something different use the great outdoors as your backdrop. With this in mind, you want something that does not stand out, ideally bushes, rocks or water. The trick is not to shoot the subject and have the background stand out. You want a blurred background this allows the subject to stand out and draw the viewers eye towards them.

Collapsible Backgrounds

Today you can by a background that enables you to fold up into a convenient sized bag. They come in a selection of sizes but the 2m x 1.5m should be big enough for single subjects or a small group. They come in a selection of colours, White, black, green, grey you can even get mottled look coloured backgrounds. You can buy separate covers to zip over the original to change the background,. These are not cheap but they will last a long time.

Green Screen

Head shot Background

Lynn edited

Head shot Background

Green Screen original

Green screen as a background offers a lot of possibilities, you do need photo editing software like Photoshop to post process the image.

To photograph the subject, you need the subject to stand about six feet in front of the backdrop and try not to spill light onto the backdrop (creating a hotspot), just the subject. See here  or here for more details.

Transfer the image onto your computer and open the software. The software allows you to change the background and use another suitable image to place behind the subject.

Whatever background you choose remember that the subject needs to stand out and not the background.

Tell me what your favourite head shot background is and why you would like your image shot against it?


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Head-shot Photography Tips.

Professional Head-shot Photography Tips

Head-shot Photography Tips assist you in taking your own photos for your social media profile photo. These tips will not replace the quality of photography that hiring a professional photographer will create for you.

1. Use a zoom lens.

By using a zoom lens of 70-200mm lens you find that the face appears more flattering and less angular. This is because through the optics the longer focal length lens has the appearance of naturally compresses the subject’s features. By using a zoom lens you can fill the frame with the subjects face or back off and include the chest and shoulders.

Picture of a lens Head-shot Photography Tips







Photo courtesy of Canon USA

What you mustn’t do is use a wide angle lens, this will distort the facial features and bring in too much background. This is something that can easily happen with a mobile phone or iPad.

by Martin from MH Photography



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A grey card is an item of equipment that every photographer should carry in there kit bag. This enables the photographer to have the correct white balance for the light that they are shooting their images under.

My choice is the XRITE Colour Checker Passport.

This piece of equipment works well with a RAW photo workflow. It has a grey card and two sets of colour swatches in a robust plastic case.

Picture of XRITE Grey Card Colour Checker Passport

Colour Checker Passport

Picture of XRITE Grey Card Colour Checker Passport

XRITE Colour Checker Colour Swatches

Picture of XRITE Grey Card Colour Checker Passport

XRITE Colour Checker Grey Card


The white balance you set by using the lighting conditions your working under. Take a photo of the grey card under that light by getting as much as you can of the card in the lens space. Going into the cameras menu, set a custom white balance (see your cameras instruction manual).

You photograph the colour swatches next. You imported the image into Photoshop CC and create a DNG colour profile. Your created DNG profile is then used for all the images under the same light conditions you created the custom WB in. This cuts the guesswork out of colour in an image.

You can proceed to take your images under the same lighting conditions.


You use your camera set on the WB setting and import them onto a PC.

Import the images into Lightroom (or Bridge). Using the white balance selector (W) tool click on the grey card which moves the temperature slider to the correct setting. You can then synchronise all the images  to the same temperature.

The colour swatch is exported into Colour Checker Passport program as a DNG file. Using the Passport this will create a colour profile for use in Lightroom or bridge (on restarting the programs).  The profile;e will appear in the camera calibration profile section allowing all images to be synchronized.

Even though you have synchronized the images you will find that you may need to make individual changes to each image.

View this video on how to set custom white balance on a canon 5dmk2

For further information Contact Martin

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Flash and its use in Photography

Flash and its use in Photography

Flash, why use it in photography? Simple answer is to light the subject. This works fine for something that is close. Can you really light up a subject on a sports field when you are in the rafters? Of course the answer is no.

What is it?

Flash is a portable light source that produces a burst of light to illuminate a subject. This can be a fixed item that can be used on or off the camera.


The fixed camera flash is a pop up unit that is located on the top of the camera. Although diffusion covers can be added to this, the light produced is reasonably direct. This does not produce a flattering image. Light from this is not easily controlled.

Portable Unit

This is a very versatile item and when used off camera can produce some superb images. Various accessories can be used to diffuse or bend the light. Light output is better controlled and harsh light is avoided.


Flash is used to light the subject. This can be similar to studio lights with main, fill and hair light. It could be as a fill in light with the subject outside in bright sunlight and there face is in darkness. A little fill in light will bring out the details and you will be able to see them. Flash depending on the output and shutter speed will also change what detail you see in the background.
In my opinion portable flash(s) is the way to go. The flash can be used in an automatic setting where the flash syncs with the camera control. The theory is that for the settings of the camera the flash output will be right.

However if your just starting to use flash, start in manual settings. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Light Meter

Picture of a sekonic light meter L478dr in flash

To set up your flash(s) correctly so you don’t over or under underexpose, you will need a light meter. I use the Sekonic L478DR that works with pocket wizards. It will also work on a time delay for the flash if you don’t have pocket wizards. See Sekonic L478 Blog For further details. You can also visit Sekonic L478

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