Practising headshots

newbie1

Distinguished Member

=adrian=

Member
I think for black background shots there should be some sort of backlight to help to separate the subject from the background, hair light or kicker light. Unless that was what you had in mind.
Also remember that, especially for females, short lighting is more flattering (unless your subject is very skinny).
Overall a very good attempt :)
 

newbie1

Distinguished Member
Thanks Adrian, hopefully I get a chance to try again today :)
 

=adrian=

Member
The first one is my favourite. The only thing that is missing (for me) is a bit of light from to back to separate the dark hair and the black background. But that is only a minor complaint. If that was your idea from the start and it does not matter what others think.

The one with white background is good one too. Peter-Hurley-like

The other 2 are not bad either. It is just I would be tempted to go with short lighiting in both of them and add a secondary light.

All of that is just a personal preference though.
 

sep8001

Well-known Member
Great set and very good exposure on the face. Agree with a bit of back light on the ones with the black ground.

Please can you post what light setup you used.

Thanks
 

newbie1

Distinguished Member
Lighting setup:

Black background - medium octagonal softbox above, reflector below and polystyrene panel to the side for extra reflection on one side.

White background - three strip softbox from the front and a couple of flashes behind - you can see them reflected in the catch-lights
 

snerkler

Member
I think lighting is very good, nice and even and no horrible shadows. My only critique is that they seem a bit soft and focus seems a tad off ( the furthest eye is sharper than the nearest eye on 2 and 3. 1 just seems soft as neither eye is sharp, focus seems to be on the cheek)
 
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newbie1

Distinguished Member

newbie1

Distinguished Member
I think lighting is very good, nice and even and no horrible shadows. My only critique is that they seem a bit soft and focus seems a tad off ( the furthest eye is sharper than the nearest eye on 2 and 3. 1 just seems soft as neither eye is sharp, focus seems to be on the cheek)

I was using the hassy which has only center focus. Need more practice.
 

newbie1

Distinguished Member
Thanks, are all the lights speed lights or studio lights as well ?

The black setup was speedlite, the white was studio lights.
 

MartinH32

Well-known Member
A couple of things if you don't mind me saying (I do this for a living). With a black background you really need a second light to provide separation of the subject from the background.

Lighting your subject from one side and shooting from the other (ie. shooting short lit) provides a more flattering result (it thins the face). Also try and get your key light (your main light a little higher). If you've not looked it up before google portrait lighting patterns and learn the difference between butterfly, rembranht, loop and split lighting. This will help turn your results into something quite special. Distance of your light to the subject will also play a major part in the overall look - the contrast and hardness of light varies depending on distance.

Pay attention also to the focal length you are shooting at. A longer focal length provides a more flattering result. Google foreshortening which will explain it.

Lastly, cropping heads isn't a problem. The way our mind works when viewing a photograph is to view shapes first, hence a round face. Cropping the circle helps you to concentrate on the subject. However, you need to take care where you crop!
Hope that helps
 
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newbie1

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the detailed feedback, much appreciated :)
 

MartinH32

Well-known Member
Just an example of cropping heads. It's only a small one but it helps to bring focus on to the couple. Had the grooms head been left in tact and space above it the shot wouldn't have worked as well KARLEY-1299.jpg
 

newbie1

Distinguished Member
Very cool :) thanks!
 

=adrian=

Member
My rule for tight portraits / headshots is to have eyes above the center line. The top of the head is less important for me than the neck.
 

snerkler

Member
A couple of things if you don't mind me saying (I do this for a living). With a black background you really need a second light to provide separation of the subject from the background.

Lighting your subject from one side and shooting from the other (ie. shooting short lit) provides a more flattering result (it thins the face). Also try and get your key light (your main light a little higher). If you've not looked it up before google portrait lighting patterns and learn the difference between butterfly, rembranht, loop and split lighting. This will help turn your results into something quite special. Distance of your light to the subject will also play a major part in the overall look - the contrast and hardness of light varies depending on distance.

Pay attention also to the focal length you are shooting at. A longer focal length provides a more flattering result. Google foreshortening which will explain it.

Lastly, cropping heads isn't a problem. The way our mind works when viewing a photograph is to view shapes first, hence a round face. Cropping the circle helps you to concentrate on the subject. However, you need to take care where you crop!
Hope that helps
For the OP, I find this a good simple reference for portrait lighting

Dropbox - Free_portrait_lighting_poster.jpg
 

Ali Raza

Active Member
add the hair light and follow the rule of 3rds...keep the subject to one side or the other...not in center..
 
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