The Headshot. The modern day calling card for just about every social media outlet on the internet. You could also say that the headshot is a prime opportunity for any photographer to hone in on their skills and learn. Over the weekend we held an awesome headshot workshop allowing for a few photographers of all levels to learn some tips, tricks, and lighting techniques to give your client’s headshots custom fit for their needs. Below are a couple key points that I like to focus on with each new headshot client.
GET TO KNOW YOUR CLIENT
A headshot is meant to represent your client in the best way possible. What makes each headshot unique is by literal definition, the “head” in the “shot”. Take the time to learn a bit about your client. What is will the headshot be used for? Is this for business or personal use? What type of work does your client do? Are they going for a more casual headshot or are they looking for something a bit more corporate? What color backdrop do they prefer? In most cases, they will either prefer a white, black, or on-location option. Knowing your client’s backdrop or location preferences will really help you hone in on the following two points.
GET DOWN TO THE DETAILS
Once you’ve got a good idea of the who, the what, and the where for your headshot, you can narrow down on the how. To do this you've got to start to focus on the details. What equipment will you use during your shoot? If you never learn anything else about photography learn this: it's all about the lighting. It makes all the difference for your finished product. Even if you choose to shoot natural light, the time of day you choose to shoot and how you choose to manipulate the sunlight on your subject will play an important role in your final image. Regardless of your light source, you need to take it into consideration. If your client is going for a more corporate look you will definitely want to use more even lighting. In the event that your client allows you a bit more creative control and you may go for a different style. Choosing the right lense is also important. If you’re shooting on-location and your background is busy, you will want to use a low aperture in order to blur the background and keep all of the focus on your subject. Finally, while I personally don’t make it a habit of telling my clients what to wear during a headshot session it can help to have an idea of what your client will be wearing for the shoot. Many of my clients are entrepreneurs themselves and in this instance dressing to their personality can really never be a bad thing, however if your client is going for the more corporate look it's usually best to avoid busy prints and patterns. The goal is to keep the focus on your client’s face, not their wardrobe (although a little fashion sense never hurt anybody).
MAKE IT FUN
While most of the world loves a good selfie you would be surprised by how many people get nervous in front of the camera when someone else is taking their photo. Especially if that photo is a professional headshot. During their session, carve in some time to get to know your client and get a feel for their personality. Are they camera ready, or camera shy? Are they a natural smiler or do they prefer the intimidating straight faced route? Taking the time to learn how your subject naturally moves when in front of the camera will help you figure out how to best help your client relax and guide them in order to get the ultimate headshot. The last thing that you want is another stiff headshot out in the world. If you have fun with it, your client will too.
All images provided by Keva Burns of CustoMYze Me
I hope the tips help you! Feel free to drop me a line or send me some of your recent headshot work! Until next time …..