It’s hard to explain to clients that I “could” make them look better but I won’t. Why? Because it’s a headshot session not a portrait session. There is a distinct difference between the two. A headshot has to show off the true architecture of your face. Pulling your face off camera might make your nose look better and your face look wider.. but that’s not the purpose of a headshot session. Hey, they could be looking for someone just like you!
Television does not have Photoshop. You do not get to choose what angle you’ll be shot. The producer will not ask what side you like better. They will not whiten your teeth or pluck out those bushy eyebrows and nose hairs you should of attended to before the shoot. They don’t care what color you look best in… well you see the theme here.
What they want is a “STRAIGHT ON” shot of your face. I will let a man turn a wee bit, but that’s it.
These are not images for your Mom or girlfriend/boyfriend, they are not dating images… these are working images for casting directors to do a job. Show them your knowledgeable about the business and give them what “they” want.
I do retouch but it’s strategically and meticulously done, especially for men… it must maintain it’s roughness. Global skin smoothing is generally not the way to go… it can turn an image into a “high school senior” pic. Head shots have a job to do… work.
Having lots of photographers at the studio gives me insights to what beginners have problems with. I shoot Canon so when someone has a problem with another brand it can trip me up a bit. A couple of weeks ago I was testing with a hairdresser that brought his camera along and sat down with him to go over his settings. The first problem that popped up was he was using all of his focus points, so whatever and wherever the camera locked was in focus. He didn’t know you could choose just one point and didn’t’ know how to change it… neither did I.
It surprises me how many photographers don’t keep their manuals in their camera bags. Choosing your focusing points is a BIG DEAL and knowing how, when and why is critical.
I stumbled on to a few Canon video tutorials that are great, all on Canon focus that are well worth the watch. I also saw they had a two minute video on Canon custom functions, I thought, oh, I’ll watch that first, it’s only two minutes. Wrong! I misread it and it was two hours. I watched the entire video and thought it was very helpful. The next day I sat down with my camera to change a few custom functions and to look at my focus lock button. I definitely see why and when the focus lock button would be useful.
I have the Canon 1d mk3… I didn’t even know the thing had live view or a mic. I’m still confused about a few things but we never stop learning. The technology built into the new cameras is staggering and a bit intimidating.
Once you click on this link you’ll see the three Canon Auto Focus videos. The videos on average are 30 minutes each all worth watching.
As In Face ….
This is usually how I start a session… I just ask the client. Women generally know and tell you, men say they don’t know. I find the majority of people part their hair on the left side, perhaps because most people are right handed?
If I have a shoot with lots of people to do, what would the best side to put my main light on… humm, good question. If most of the clients are women I would put the main light camera right because of the ladies hair part. If most of the clients will be men I would put my main light camera left, for short lighting on the face.
If I’m shooting a women for a headshot and she says she doesn’t know, it will probably be a tough shoot. If you’re planning on becoming a model or actor I would hope you would know your face well enough to have an opinion.
I am surprised how many clients have never realized how asymmetrical their faces are. One eye bigger than the other and the mouth crooked and more open on one side. I find the big eye is usually on the same side as the larger mouth opening. Clients are often bummed and shocked how uneven their faces are.
For actors headshots I want the image straight on, not an easy feat to accomplish, clients keep pulling their faces to the side… to the side… to the side… to the side… just shoot me now… and I mean me not them.
Straight on… nose to the Camera, perhaps a slight head tip… pretty please.
Unless you’re a man or I want to disguise something I need the image straight on for the agencies. Model Joe above has one of the most symmetrical faces around and I love shooting him straight on, not always flattering for men but great for him.
Yes, the shorter the better when it comes to commercial modeling. As you get older it should even get shorter. Are you short… than short hair will make you look taller. Short hair will make you stand out! For commercial modeling layered hair about mid chest high is very versatile especially if you’re over 30 ladies..
Do you want to test… than short hair would get you to the top of my list. How short? Short Short Short… as in Hale Berry short. The prettiest models can carry short hair. The industry absolutely loves short hair.
Sexy, sporty, girl next door, sister, mom and dominatrix all rock short hair… see it’s really versatile!
The top two commercial models represent 20s and 30s and the above models represent 40s and 50s