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Eight Tips for Getting Great Headshots

Posted by Jacob Hawthorne on

Headshots may not be every photographer’s passion, but they sure can pay the bills.

These days, people need headshots for everything. Actors need them for acting jobs and business teams need them to display on their websites and social media platforms. They are very much in demand, and if you can take a good headshot, you are likely to bring in a decent amount of money.

But you will only get work as a headshot photographer if the shots are good. This article will provide tips so you take a great headshot every time.

Have a Consultation Before the Shoot

Before the shoot starts, schedule a consultation with your client. That way you can find out exactly what they are expecting from the shoot. You can go from there to decide on the right background and make sure you are getting the shots they need during the session.

Find the Right Background

The background you use will be important. A corporate leader may want you to stick to plain white while a yoga instructor may opt for neutral, natural tones.

Make Sure Your Client is Well Dressed

A man will often forget to bring a jacket to a photo shoot which can be a setback if he is going for a professional look. Be sure to have one on hand. You should also have an iron or steamer nearby if clothing becomes wrinkled during the shoot.

Make the Subject Stick Out from the Background

Your subject will need to be the focus of the picture. Therefore, you will want to make sure they look sharp in the image while the background blurs behind them. This can be achieved by widening the aperture to make a bokeh effect. An aperture of f/4 is usually ideal, but you can experiment to find what works best for you.

Let Your Subject Relax

Your pictures won’t come out good unless your subject is relaxed. You can put them at ease by talking to them for a few minutes before you start shooting. Keep talking throughout the shoot to make them feel comfortable. Encourage them to make funny faces to get them into an even more relaxed mood.

Get the Lighting Right

It’s essential to get the lighting right in your photos. A tried-and-true method is to use three-point lighting which includes a key light on one side, a fill light that sits adjacent to the key light, and a background light.

Find the Perfect Pose

Subjects will look best if they are sitting at a 45-degree angle to the camera but looking straight into the lens. They will also be more relaxed if they sit down. That way, they won’t have to worry about what to do with their hands. They can simply fold them in their laps.

Shoot Tethered

Shooting tethered involves connecting your camera to a computer or tablet so you can see your shots instantly. This method will allow both you and your subject to see how the photos are coming out so they can make changes that may improve the results.

Headshots are a great way to make money. Now that you know the basics, you can start branching out with this line of work. Will you be adding them to your repertoire?


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