Why Creativity is Important When Taking Headshots
May 20, 2014
One of the most common tasks of photographers is taking headshots. It’s one of the best practice exercises for novice photographers because it requires great skill and rapport with the subject. For the benefit of those who are unfamiliar, a head shot is one of the first things that models, celebrities or actors need to have when applying for a job or project. Consider it a requirement in your portfolio even, because of its popularity.
A headshot is simply put, a photograph of mainly the face of the subject and maybe a portion of the shoulders. It is a lot harder than most people think it is for the simple reason that it is a photograph that is taken very up close and well, personally. The micro expressions in the subject’s face are seen and the mood and lighting have a very big impact on how the photograph turns out. So for beginners and those who want to improve their craft and come up with the best headshots, here are some tips that you can follow:
1. Make the Eyes your Focal Point
Clean headshots can make or break a career when you’re a model or someone who’s hoping to get discovered. As the old adage goes, the eyes are the mirror to the soul – and how your eyes look in your headshot is of utmost importance. Naturally, red eyes are a big no-no and so are eyes with reflected images on them. For photographers, the eyes should look clean, bright and lively.
2. Angles Matter
Models and subjects have what they call their best angles. If you want the best headshots, you’d have to be willing to experiment a little and take sample shots. Don’t be afraid to let the model or subject play around during the shoot, this is often where you’ll get the best close up shots. In the case of women subjects, it might take them a while to warm up to a new photographer during the shoot, so letting them play with different angles helps break the ice.
3. Diffused Light and Hair Lighting Works
Using diffused light also helps create clean headshots because it allows the skin to be another central piece. The model’s skin should look fresh and vibrant and should not bear the signs of sun damage or a long night out. Besides make up, the right lighting improves the appearance of the skin and defines the lines and contours of the face. Using hair lighting at the same time, adds depth to the shot and removes the top of the head from the background of the photograph.
4. Establish Rapport with Your Model
Your subject is a real life breathing person with moods and emotions. If you strike the right rapport you’ll have a subject who won’t be afraid to express him or her in front of the camera. Make small talk, crack a joke and set him or her at ease. You’ll find that it will be much easier to ask your subject to do different poses and facial expressions if you have gained their trust and they are confident in what you can do as a photographer.