I know everyone thinks it’s easy to take a business headshot but let me tell you, sometimes it takes a professional photographer with a lot of knowledge and skill to make it happen.
Yesterday I was preparing to photograph a realtor for her new marketing material headshots. The graphic designer requested a portrait with depth, not just a solid backdrop, so it looked like it was taken in a living room. My studio consists of a long room with a backdrop positioned at the far end of the room and a large display window looking out on Solano Ave, a busy commercial street. Cars park at the curb in front of the window and street repair is also happening outside.
My first idea to pulling this off was to position the client in front of a backdrop and hang some mini-blinds I took off my son’s bedroom window between the client and the backdrop. No, that didn’t look good. (Please disregard my selfie, I’m displaying myself for illustrative purposes.)I was a bit worried and the client was coming in a half hour.
Next idea was to position the client with her back to the window, hope a truck didn’t park on the street outside my studio and quickly set up lights. This is what the street-view through-the-window looked like without any additional lights. The colors looked good and with a purposefully blurred background, you can’t tell what’s going on outside.As I was setting things up, my friend Whitney dropped by to say, “Hi”. Luckily, I grabbed her as a model so I wouldn’t have to photograph myself any more! (bad hair day). And you can see, without lights the background is well exposed but the backlit subject is dark. If you use your phone to take a photo the background is pure white–blown out–so you really do need lights on the subject to balance the inside with the outside lights. Next came the off camera flash setup. I set my camera at f 4.5 at 1/100 sec at ISO 100 to make sure the outside scene was blurred out. Then, I set my main light on camera left at f4.5, 1/100 sec and added a fill light f 2.0 behind me pointed at the ceiling to increase the ambient light and fill in shadows. I also had a white bounce card (as seen on the stool) positioned at the right of the subject. That bounced in a little light from the main light and softened the shadows on the shadow side of her face. So, here it is. A lovely, perfectly lit, business portrait created in studio using outside daylight and artificial light. And this, my friend, is the difference between a person with a camera (or phone) and a professional headshot.
If you’re looking for a unique business portrait give a call. 510-917-0659.