How to Prepare for a Headshot Photo Session
Accordingly, headshots from a headshot photo session are a powerful way to market yourself. As a result, you could be a business person, model, lawyer.
Therefore, in this post, I explain how you should prepare for a headshot photo session with a professional photographer.
Choosing a Photographer
In the first place, photographers are all different, no two are alike. As a result, each one has its own individuality of shooting style and editing style and bedside manner. Therefore, one photographer may be very laid back with their clients and like to keep the shoot casual. While another likes to keep a more business-like setting to their sessions. To put it differently, does either style make one less professional? Absolutely not, it’s all a matter of preference.
By the same token, Photographers have different levels of expertise and experience. Thus some have been shooting for 20+ years and their work can be lacking. Equally, others have been shooting for a few short months and have some amazing work under their belt. When choosing a Photographer don’t be fooled by the length of time they have been shooting. Therefore judge them by the quality of their work, most photographers have an online portfolio
Different Types of Headshots
Henceforth, all photographers have a different style of shooting for a headshot photo session. Therefore, you should think about the style that you want. Most importantly tell your photographer which style you want when booking.
Another thing to consider is the background. In fact, I personally prefer white it’s clean and where LinkedIn is concerned, makes you stand out.
1. Vertical Studio Headshot
A common style that is vertical (portrait) in orientation. Consequently, this gives you the opportunity to show what you are wearing. Hence, this lets people get a better sense of who you are and what your style is.
2. Peter Hurley Style
Horizontal instead of the traditional vertical usually with a nice and crisp white background.
For this reason, I personally like to shoot this style. The white background works well for all aspects of the internet whether it’s your website or social media.
3. Environmental Headshot
In this case, for professional headshots, environmental headshots are taken outside of a studio. For this reason, this is shot using natural or artificial light.
Consequently, they are a more casual style of image. Hence, a good outdoors headshot is one that has separated from the background. Therefore, the background is blurry and is known as Bokeh.
Getting Ready for your Headshot Photo Session
Accordingly, you’ve chosen your photographer and have had your first discussion over the phone. As a result, you’ve thought about the style you want and the location/background. In addition, the date is looming for the photoshoot. Therefore, being prepared for the shoot makes you relax and easier to photograph.
Moreover, simple is best. Therefore, what you wear is an expression of you and reflects your personality.
- Accordingly, choose solid colours as these look good in headshots.
- Do not wear something that is patterned.
- In particular, bring a few changes of clothes to the shoot.
- Equally, it’s not likely that the photographer is going to have an iron. Please make sure ALL clothes are ironed and pressed before the shoot. Because the wrinkles in clothes are difficult to Photoshop out.
- Likewise, for headshots, you don’t need to worry about your shoes, be comfortable.
- In this case, please do not visit your hairdresser on the day of the shoot.
- Accordingly, please bring with you a brush and some hair product (gel/hairspray), this helps to calm any stray flyaway hair.
- Furthermore, if you can afford it and would like, hire a hairstylist for the morning of the shoot.
3. Makeup and Face
- In general, start with just enough to cover up any blemishes.
- Moreover, try not to use matte styles of makeup this is likely to dry out your skin. It will also show in the finished photo.
- Please bring your makeup and moisturizer with you just in case your skin does get dry or you need touchups.
- Likewise, bring lip balm or lip gloss with you to help keep lips looking soft.
- The night before brush your lips with your toothbrush to help get rid of any dead skin.
- Don’t do visiting a tanning studio, or have a beauty treatment right before the shoot. It’s important to have a skin that is natural and not irritated.
- Remove stray eyebrows the night prior to the shoot.
- Also, if you wear glasses please bring them with you. Also, some lens wipes to clean them before the shoot. Similarly, only wear clear contact lenses if you have coloured ones please don’t wear them for the shoot. To explain, these will look fake in the photos.
- Shave right before you leave for a shoot. Hence, a 5 o clock shadow can’t be Photoshopped easily. Accordingly, use cooling gel or aftershave to help with skin irritation.
- Bring some oil absorbing sheets to soak up any oil or sweat that might build up during the shoot. As a result, the studio lights can get pretty hot. As a matter of fact, some great sheets are the Clean and Clear: Oil Absorbing Sheets.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
Consequently, as an added extra, if you can afford it. Why not hire a Makeup artist to do your makeup and stay with you during the shoot for touchups.
Before the shoot
- Furthermore, do you know if you have a good side? Therefore, look at yourself in the mirror, do you have a side that you like better.
- If you are aware of one eye that is visibly smaller than the other. In this case, turn the side of your face with the smaller eye towards the camera. As a result, it will help reduce the difference between the two.
- Practice your smile before the shoot. It’s amazing how many will comment and warm to you. A good photographer will get different expressions from you during the shoot.
- Moreover, if you are have discoloured teeth, let the photographer know, they can correct this in photoshop.
- Accordingly, if you have a favourite set of music, ask the photographer if you can bring it along.
During the Shoot
- In this case, music helps take the tension out of your photo session.
- Equally important, follow the photographer’s direction, even if it sounds a little silly. Accordingly, we know the best posing on headshots and the best way to shape your face. You may feel a little funny posing differently, but trust me the photos will look great.
- Henceforth, the session should be fun to relax, be yourself.
- In addition smile, a difficult one to do naturally. In this case, don’t force your smile it will look more genuine.
- Squint, Squint, Squint!!! Squinting your eyes just a little will also help the shots look more confident and natural. To put it another way, having your eyes wide open looks like a rabbit in the headlights.
- In addition, take time to relax, drink some water and move away from the lights and take a break.
After the Shoot
Accordingly, each photographer has a different editing style for photos from a headshot photo session. Equally important, let them know if you want the photos edited. In general, here is a list of some of the items you might want to consider.
- Imperfections. Do you want imperfections cleaned up (Freckles, moles, scars etc…)?
- Double chin reduction.
- Eyes Whiter
- Teeth whitened/corrected
- Remove bags under the eyes
Equally, don’t feel awkward about asking or the photographer asking you about editing. If they’re truly a professional then they’ll expect this. If you do want any major editing done, please keep in mind that it may cost extra.
Depending on the amount of shoot post-processing that needs undertaking will depend on when the photos are available. Accordingly, please be realistic in your expectation.
Hopefully, this guide will help you prepare for your big day in front of the camera for your headshot photo session. It will also help make your experience a little more stress-free. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or email me
Use this form to give me some information about what you’re looking for.
Fundraising Event Photography
Generally speaking, Fundraising Event Photography is a passion that I thoroughly enjoy. For me, its all about seeing the joy on guests face when they view the photos.
The first thing to remember, Fundraising Event Photography is not Studio Portrait Photography. That is to say that the photography reflects a moment in time. As a result, the aim is to record the enjoyment of being at the event. For this reason, guests can take home a memento of that enjoyment.
How we prepare
When your guests arrive we have already set the portable studio up. Indeed your guests can approach us and we will happily photograph them.
Before we get to this stage though we have had a lot of work to do.
For this reason, first, we check all of the equipment to ensure that it is in good condition. In addition, as we do this its checked off against a list and loaded into the car. Therefore this helps us not to forget the important items.
We aim to arrive at the venue an hour and a half before the first guests arrive. Generally speaking, yes, it does take that amount of time to set up.
With all the items carried into the venue, we can then start to set the studio up. In the first place, we start with the Backdrop and stands. We have various backdrops, although the most popular has been a blue background with stars all over it. The backdrop drapes over a pole on stands and then extends out to a length of 3metres.
As soon as the backdrops set up, next we position the lights and electricity run out.
Means of viewing the images
Taking the images is fine but guests need to see them before purchasing. For this reason, we use laptop computers. Consequently one’s for guests to view. Accordingly the other contains Photoshop and has the printer connected to it.
In this case, we use a special printer called a Sub Dye printer. It doesn’t print with ink cartridges, instead, it uses celluloid film of three colours. As a result, the print does not fade.
We only print images when the guest is happy with there choice. For this reason, we have a no obligation clause for your guests.
Last minute readiness.
Once all the preparations are complete just a few checks remain.
In the first place, the camera’s set to the correct colour balance and colour chart for the lighting conditions. For this reason, we then take a photo and print the result. The printer might need some minor tweaks in photoshop but then all prints will be the same colours when printed.
Accordingly, we are now ready for the guests to arrive and have their photos taken.
Style of photos
Correspondingly the evening gives the ladies the opportunity to put on there finest with the men looking smart in Tuxedos.
As a result Event photography gives the opportunity to record the guests in there dresses and tuxedos.
Generally, we take 3 types of photos:-
- Full length
- Landscape from the waist up
- Close up of the guests.
In the first place the backdrop is only 3metres wide. As a result, group shots are limilting, the more people you have the more restricted you become on space.
In the first place for a fundraising charity event we attend Free of Charge. For this reason we sell the prints for £15 each or 3 for £30. In addition each print comes in a black photo-strut and a clear plastic bag to protect them. Consequently at the end of the evening we give 10% of our takings to the charity.
Area of cover
In general the areas of coverage for Fundraising Event Photography are Hampshire and surrounding counties.
Likewise, for more information contact Martin on 07824 331 730 to discuss your event photography needs
Lens Depth of Field
To begin with, depth of field (DOF), what it is and how to understand how to use it.
DOF can be viewed as the amount of a picture that is in focus. As a matter of fact, this could be a short/narrow DOF to a long and wide DOF. Generally speaking, three factors determine the DOF.
The focal length of the lens
In the first place, the focal length of the lens is the ability of a lens to magnify the image of a distant subject. As a result, it is the distance in mm from the optical centre of a lens to a point where a subject at infinity appears in sharp focus. This is usually the cameras digital sensor. In this case, think of this as the physical length of a lens in very simple terms.
In the first place, each lens has a maximum aperture and a minimum aperture. As an illustration, the range could be from f2.8 to f22. In other words, this means the amount of light that can enter through the lens. At the same time, the small f-number (f2.8) allows loads of light to enter the aperture which is wide open. On the contrary, the large f-number (f22) allows the smallest amount of light in. As a result, this means the aperture hole is small.
Different distances decide what the DOF is likely to be. If you are photographing something at distance you are going to get an image where most things are in focus. This may mean that anything close to the camera is out of focus. On the other hand, if you photograph something close then the subject close to the camera will be in focus. You will also notice that the background is blurred or out of focus.
What DOF can do for you?
A shallow depth of field is great if you want to make your subject stand out. That’s a portrait subject with a nice out of focus background. This means the subject stands out no distracting background.
For a landscape photograph, the camera’s lens can only focus on a single point. This means that areas before and after this point will appear out of focus. Although in reality, the area in focus will be a lot of the image. The out of focus will be near and far away from the lens.
The Depth of Field is notoriously difficult to work out when you first start to understand it. The good thing is that apps for mobile phones are available that take the guesswork out of it. For apple phones here is a link.
To find out more contact Martin
STUDIO LIGHTING (part 2)
In this case, this blog is about Studio Lighting Setup.
To begin with, in the last blog I wrote about the choice of studio lights available. As can be seen, in this blog, I am going into a bit more detail about setting the lights up.
Furthermore, as mentioned in the previous blog, for this type of backdrop four lights give you a good photo. In this case, my studio lighting setup for four lights is:-
- Main/key light.
- Fill light
- Hair light
- Backdrop light
Studio Lighting Setup
In this case, the lights placed to one side of the camera to highlight the subject. Therefore this lights one side of the subject. In general, the light level for this would be around f8-f11.
Generally speaking, you would place this light on the opposite side of the camera that the main light is on. In contrast, the role of this light is to put light into any shadow created by the main light. To clarify, it lifts the shadows and is not a strong light. In general, the light level for this would be f5.6-f8.
In addition, the hair lights placed at a high level over the top or at the side of the backdrop. In this case, this light lights the hair of the subject. The typical value for light level is f5.6
Coloured/Dark Backdrop Lighting
Accordingly, this lights placed low level behind the subject light the backdrop. In like manner, the light level is similar to the hair light.
In this case, the main light and fill stay in place. At the same time, the hair and backdrop lights become redundant. With this in mind, place these lights to the side to illuminate the white backdrop. In this case, the lighting levels for the two side light is around f11. Equally important the lights must light the backdrop evenly.
As an illustration, the diagrams above should help with you setting up your lighting for profile headshots. However, feel free to contact me if you require help.
Studio Lighting (part 1)
Accordingly, studio lighting takes many forms. As a matter of fact, there are flashlights, continuous lighting and strobe lighting.
As a result, you have to consider which benefits you best.
In this case, Flashguns used off camera.
Likewise, as the name suggests the lighting does not change although it can be dimmed or brightened.
Accordingly, this normally has a modelling light that allows you to judge the final lighting setup. In addition, it has a strobe light that supplies the actual lighting for the subject when fired.
When I started the business I choose Stobe Lighting. For this reason. that it was a portable unit. In this case, the units are mains electricity or battery powered. You can also use a variety of light modifiers over the strobe to soften the light.
Moreover, all forms of studio lighting require setting up for light level and colour balance. That is to say, to do this accurately you need a light meter and a using a grey card. If you don’t do this then you will get inferior results. Must be remembered, each light requires setting up individually to produce the effect the photographer is looking for.
You can use 1 or multiples of, in most cases, you would use more than 1. In this case, the ideal studio lights for portraits is four.
1. would be the main/key light.
2. would be your fill light
3. would be your hair light
4. would be your backdrop light
For this reason, these lighting setups are normally used for coloured backdrops.
Generally speaking, if you’re using a white background, you remove the hair and backdrop lights. These then get placed pointing at the white backdrop.
In addition, with the lights in position and set to the levels required, the cameras set to the settings. In this case, the cameras set to the main/key light setting.
Watch out for part two. Want to know more then drop me a line.
GDPR AND HOW IT APPLIES TO PHOTOGRAPHY.
Generally speaking, the introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) marks a change. In the first place, clients now have to give formal consent to the use of their images. Up to the present time consent was maybe verbal or written into the T&C’s it now has to be formalised and recorded.
Given these points, this means that GDPR consent is transparent. Equally important it is all about the right to privacy of the individual. For this reason by recording an individuals permission, those that really appreciate their image will be happy to promote your business. There will be some who will not want to help you with the promotion. Dealing respectfully with your client’s wishes will enhance your business’s reputation. It’s what is best for your client. Failure to act could cause you bigger issues in the future, possibly a fine.
How can we best avoid this?
For the most part, this process is all about transparency. The most important part of this GDPR process is to get genuine consent. Above all to achieve this you must have a recordable form that the client signs. As a result, this gives consent to there images use. In addition it is helpful for them to have the option to say no. As a result that no, is only to you displaying their image(s) in your marketing. For this reason by using the consent form the client feels that it’s important they are being listened too.
It is important to realise that this is a tricky one. Is it reasonable to ask in excess of 20 people to sign consent forms? Do you have to change your approach? Is it reasonable to inform attendees that photography is taking place and for them to let the photographer/organisers know that they do not want their photo taken?
What do you do when you have a smallish group? Do you feel it is reasonable for them to be asked to sign individual consents?
Getting it right
Clients will cooperate and you get to use their image for your marketing, social media etc.
Let me know what you think, contact me here.
The camera histogram is one of the most important indicators of how well exposed your photograph is. The graph that is displayed represents on the left shadows, in the middle mid-tones and on the right highlights.
Thank you to digital camera world for the graph.
For a well-exposed image, you are looking for a rise from the left bottom corner to a peak in the middle and then dropping down again to the corner on the right. However, remember this is a perfect world.
The camera histogram graph may have peaks and troughs. Meaning that it might start at the bottom in the left-hand corner Rise to a peak the drop slightly rise to another peal and then drop to the left-hand corner.
Either of these scenarios will indicate a well-exposed image.
When looking at the camera histogram what you don’t want to see is the peak starting high on the left-hand side then a gentle curve upwards in the mid tones and then finishing high on the right-hand side. You may also see starting high on the left dropping, rising and dropping in the mid tones then rising high on the right. This indicates a badly exposed image which may be over or underexposed.
If a portion of the histogram is touching either edge this is called clipping. It means that there is a loss of detail in the image. On the left side, the clipping occurs in the shadows and will be completely black (no detail). On the right side in the highlights will be completely white (no detail).
If a certain portion of the histogram is “touching” either edge, it will indicate loss of detail, also called clipping. Highlight clipping (areas that are completely white and absent detail) occurs if the graph is touching the right side of the histogram. Shadow clipping (areas that are completely black and absent detail) occurs if the graph is touching the left side of the histogram.
HOW CAN YOU CORRECT THE GRAPH ON THE CAMERA HISTOGRAM
The best way to do this is to use a light meter. This way you can set the ISO, aperture and shutter speed to the readings taken. This will give you a well-exposed image. I use the Sekonic L478DR
The other way is adjusting the shutter speed on the camera. This adjusts the exposure. By dialling in a faster speed you will darken the image. If you want to make it lighter then use a slower speed.
You must remember that ensuring you have the correct white balance is also key to this process. See here for further information on white balance here.
Finding these articles interesting? Then let Martin know.
Mastering manual mode in your canon camera.
Mastering manual mode in your canon camera is something that takes photographers out of there comfort zone. For this reason it also means getting everything right before you take the image. In this case that’s colour balance, exposure and focus. As a result the image requires only a small amount of post camera software work.
Mastering manual mode means setting the camera yourself. In the first place the first thing you do is set the custom white balance. All things considered you can set this by using a grey card. In this case take a photo of the grey card in the light conditions you will be using. Above all set the custom white balance in accordance with your camera manual.
Generally speaking the best way to do this is with a light meter. For this reason the light meter means that you can get precise measurements. Henceforth by inputting your ISO and aperture or shutter speed you get the readings to set the camera too. For this reason I use a Sekonic DR425 light meter. As a result this works well with natural light, studio lights and flash with pocketwizards.
What if you have no meter?
In that case if you have no meter you set your own camera ISO and aperture. Then looking through the viewfinder adjust the shutter speed until the moving line is in the centre of the scale.
No matter which method you use you can still adjust the exposure to lighten or darken.
Generally speaking Focus, automatic or manual is really important in seeing your image clearly. For the most part this is really a personal choice. For this reason I like mainly to use automatic and change the focusing point in the camera.
Mastering manual mode doesn’t stop after the image has been taken. All things considered the software you use allows you to manipulate the image as you want.
How do you use manual? Let Martin know.
Basic DSLR Training Flash
This Blog is about Basic DSLR Training Flash. There are two ways to provide light from a flash.
- The pop-up flash found on the domestic DSLR.
- By using a flash gun that you buy as a separate unit. You can use this on the domestic and pro DSLR cameras.
To begin with you find the pop-up flash on the domestic DSLR camera. To activate the flash you push its button or it pops up automatically when called for.
Generally speaking you us a flash to add light into a photo. In this case where the subject has there back to the sun and a little light will lift the shadows. When you are in a dark room and you need light to see the subject.
Disadvantages of the pop-up flash
The big disadvantages with the pop-up flash are:-
In reality the pop-up flash is mounted in a fixed position, above the lens meaning the flash is thrown forward. As the flash fires so quickly the pupil cannot close, the light passes to the back of the eye and bounces back. As a result there is a greater chance of having the red eye look, in the eyes. In this case you can get rid of this by using digital photo software.
As a result of a fixed flash this means that you can only direct the light straight forward. In contrast this causes a lack of shadow in the image. In addition this gives the appearance of the photo looking flat (harsh) and having no definition.
By all means to reduce the harsh light you could use some equipment accessories available to lessen this.
In this case this type of flash fits in the camera hot shoe or can be used off camera. At the same time if you use it on camera the same disadvantages are present as in the pop-up flash. For this reason better diffusion is available and it can be turned or lifted (bounced) to soften the light.
Use the flash off camera by using either flash cords or infra-red/radio triggers.
Picture courtesy of Pocketwizard
For this reason the big advantage with this is that by adjusting the light output of the flash you can create shadow across the subject. In addition by using two or more flash guns you can produce stunning photos. It must be remembered that this is not possible at all with a pop up flash.
Pop up Flash.
The basic diffusion equipment is cheap and won’t make that much improvement to your photo.
Picture courtesy of Shopify
To take the flash off camera A variety of Infra-Red/Radio triggers, flash cord are available.
Several different types available, most fit onto the flash gun. Flash Cap and Gary Fong fit over the top of the flash. You use soft boxes to soften and diffuse the light. As a result by using these, you will need to put the flash lights on light stands. To support them and consider sand bags to weigh the stands down.
For further information on Basic DSLR Training Flash or other posts in this series. Contact Martin
How can one become better at photography?
To become better at photography you have to be prepared to leave your comfort zone. It’s also about understanding your equipment and how it works.
I would also advocate that when you buy photography equipment that you buy the best you can afford. As the saying goes buy cheap pay twice.
Gaining Knowledge and experience
There are several ways to gain knowledge and experience.
- Find an online website that encourages photographers of whatever experience to help each other. www.all-things-photography.com
- Look for a book that encourages you to undertake exercises to get to understand your camera. A Year With My Camera, Book 1
- Look for a social media site with like-minded photographers All things photography on Facebook
- Find a local photography club.
- Subscribe to a decent magazine. Photo Plus Canon or Nikon
All these have the same common goal, to give you knowledge.
Using this knowledge
Generally speaking in the early days of gaining your knowledge there is a lot to take in. The best way to gain knowledge is to use the equipment. That means practice, practice and more practice.
If you purchase a book or magazines try some of the subjects that are shown. Don’t worry about making mistakes. This is how you learn. The important thing is to learn from those mistakes. By joining social media groups or websites you can use the forums to ask others. You will find that every photographer whether a pro or amateur has made mistakes.
Enjoy taking photographs
Now it’s time to make a start. So charge your battery and place it in the camera. To begin with go for a walk and snap away. But before you push that button think about what you want to achieve. Remember what you read, if not take a copy with you and practice. When you get home download your images and have a look at them. Are they what you were trying to achieve?
As a result are you happy with the results or disappointed? In that case if you didn’t succeed, guess what, yes you try again. When yo can’t get it right, talk to others in the forums and they will help.
Looking for further information, contact Martin and have a chat.