How to Setup and Shoot A Photography Headshot Session: Breathe Your Passion with Vanessa Joy


Hi, this is Vanessa Joy and today on AdoramaTV we are going to look at what it takes to do an easy headshot set-up. Before my clients get there, I typically set up some of the lighting that I know that I’m going to use for the shot. I don’t always set everything up, because I’d like my clients to see the effort that goes into putting a headshot session together, after all I want them to see the value of what it is that they paid for, other than just the final product. The very first thing I have them do, is to take pictures with them, looking slightly to the left and slightly to the right. The reason I’m doing this is I’m trying to figure out what their better side is, so that I focus on photographing their better side. After the pictures are taken and tethered in to Lightroom, I have the client come over and take a look at the images with me. While photographically I might know what side is their better side, everyone has their own opinion about themselves, and I want to be sensitive about that and bring them in on the collaboration of figuring out which side of their face is better for photographing. With this client, we both agreed that the picture on the right is his better side, so we move forward and started setting up the light, to compliment that side of his face. I ended up using the light here as a reflector, not actually turned on when I’m taking the shot. So I brought it in nice and close so that the white part of the 3×4 softbox could just act as a reflector for the main light that was going to be on the right side of his face. From there I directed my client to just stand in a nice relaxed manner and this helps them feel more comfortable in front of the camera, just not standing awkwardly, and then I gave him direction to put his hands in his pocket and to follow what I was telling him to do. With my chin by sticking it out, not up not down but out towards the camera so that he didn’t appear to have a double chin, which he definitely didn’t but as we know in photographs, if the head is not positioned correctly it can appear so. From there we just move on to shooting and ideally I’m shooting fairly similarly positioned photos but I’m just having him move his chin up, down, to the right, to the left – only a little bit, very small movements. In headshots, photography can make a big difference. For this particular client he wanted all the pictures smiling naturally because he’s a dentist. So a nice bright smile is something that we were going for in the images. Aftertaking a few shots I do have the client come over and look at what we’ve got so far at the tethering station. I like to do this right away because I will ask them to point out shots that they like and that they don’t like and hopefully I find a pattern of facial expressions or body positions head positions that will tell me the things that they like, or don’t like about themselves on camera this will also give me a closer look at the image to make sure that the exposure and light patterns are correct and the way I want them to be, it’s one of the main reasons that I tether other than being able to collaborate with my clients on the spot, after that we’re ready to take a few more images and with a better idea of what my client likes. I’m able to pose and direct them better, and at this point they’re more comfortable in front of the camera as well because they’ve seen images that I’m creating, and they understand the direction I’m giving and why I’m giving it They essentially trust me a little bit more and loosen up in front of the camera. The last little tip that I give my clients is to have them look slightly above the lens, like I’m telling him here this is to help their eyes look a little bit more open, appear a little bit more awake, it doesn’t make them look like they’re looking off camera, because it’s just a very slight eye movement upwards I hope this behind-the-scenes look of headshot photography helps you out make sure you hit the subscribe button below, so you don’t miss a thing here with Breathe Your Passion on AdoramaTV and I will see you next time

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