A 10 minute head shot

Posted by D. Scott Clark on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 with No comments
I am glad to be working again.

Yesterday I did quick head shot of a business professional in Indianapolis. It's not the travel and adventure stuff I have been doing, but its still fun problem solving. This doesn't have a fun story to go with it, so I'm providing the How To...let me know what you think and if I should keep doing these.



I showed up about half an hour before the subject was supposed to arrive. I selected an open space in the office near a window for the location. The light spilling on the white background can only help, no negative. And since I'm shooting at f/8, 1/125s, and ISO100, my lights should over power any ambient lighting.

(A) I brought with me a travel background kit and a simple king size White bedsheet as the backdrop. Maybe its not "professional" but afterwards, no one can tell the difference. I also carry a black bedsheet for low key photos.

(B) I placed an AlienBee 1600 behind the sheet shooting back towards the subject. This will blow out the center more than the edges. It doesn't really matter since it's going to be an all white backdrop, but it reduces clutter around the "studio". This is roughly 2 stops above (F/16) the key light.

(C) Next I set up my White Lightning 1600x with the 42 inch Brolly Box, a shoot through translucent white umbrella with a reflective backing that keeps light from escaping out the back. I place this very close to the subject to get the best quality light from the brolly box. The subject has glasses so I have to adjust the height and position of the light above and further to the right. (f/8)

(D) I set up my Canon Speedlite 580EXII on my tripod behind and to the left of the subject. Using my Cybersync radio slave it will fire along with the studio strobes. I set it on 1/32 power which put it about a stop and half above my key light, the brolly box.

(E) I had a VALS (Voice Activated Light Stand) holding my 32inch reflector on the left side of the subject bouncing light into the shadow side of his face so it is not void of detail.

(F) The Subject stood roughly 10ft from the backdrop which minimizes the amount of spill light coming from the back light.

(G) And I shot with my 50mm lens which requires me to get pretty close to the subject for a headshot. I like the dynamic this creates with the subject, but it would be best to shoot around the 70mm range. Even though 50mm is normal and does not distort the subject, 70mm is a little bit more pleasing to the eye.

Reactions: