Above are some of my favourite headshots from the past few months.
I originally envisioned my studio setup to be similar to what Peter Hurley achieves with Kino lighting. However (and with no disrespect meant to Peter Hurley), I strove to create a more unique look. It doesn’t help that Kino lighting is expensive. I researched numerous DIY setups before settling on one similar to what Joe Edelman prescribes, with my own unique twist.
It isn’t complicated. Typically, I keep two fluorescent fixtures with four tubes on heavy-duty lightstands in front of the subject, and two fluorescent fixtures with two tubes as rim/hair lighting, in addition to whatever available light comes through my studio’s south-facing window. It’s flattering, it highlights the eyes, and I know what my shot will look like before I take it. Plus, I can add diffusers to my lights as necessary. It’s easy to set up and take down, and you can even throw it in a car for location-based shots.
Quick tips for portraits:
- In order of importance: expression > eyes > jaw(line)
- Sometimes a subject can use direction, but avoid making them feel like a mannequin.
- You can get away with some Photoshop work, but faces don’t allow for too much; plastic skin takes you right to uncanny valley.
- Remember the rule of thirds (avoid putting the subject dead centre)
- The subject’s whole body impacts the look, even if it’s mostly their face. Dynamic shoulder position and comfortable posture are apparent in the finished product.
- Use a makeup artist for professional headshots.
Photo by Bryce
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