I’ve had quite a few requests to talk about portraiture.  In the coming weeks I’ll cover several types of portraits and the lenses, setup, and lighting involved.  This week we’ll talk about taking head shots with natural lighting.  All images in this section were captured with a Canon 70-200mm F2.8 IS lens with an aperture between F2.8-5.6.  All were taken handheld, and all with natural light.  I want to thank the Monkey Family ahead of time for their patience and cooperation during this demo shoot.  It’s always hard to find a willing subject for instructional purposes.

The most common framing is the upper body.  The sun is at my back shining on the subject.   It’s always better if you can pose them with their body at a 30 degree angle and their head turned towards the camera. 

 

When focusing, focus on the closest eye and the rest of the image will appear properly focused.  Using your LCD zoom in and check your focus after every couple of shots.

 

When focusing, focus on the closest eye and the rest of the image will appear properly focused.  Using your LCD zoom in and check your focus after every couple of shots.

 

Try to avoid the straight on head shot.  The subject usually ends up looking lost and this type of pose loses dimension.

 

Try to avoid the straight on head shot.  The subject usually ends up looking lost and this type of pose loses dimension.

 

See how turning the subject slightly improves the depth of the image and the overall look?

 

See how turning the subject slightly improves the depth of the image and the overall look?

 

Again, zoom in on your LCD and make sure the closest eye is in sharp focus.

 

Again, zoom in on your LCD and make sure the closest eye is in sharp focus.

 

Profile head shots can be rewarding, but be sure to capture them with their eyes open.  Your subject will tend to blink when they anticipate the shutter being released so timing is critical.

 

Profile head shots can be rewarding, but be sure to capture them with their eyes open.  Your subject will tend to blink when they anticipate the shutter being released so timing is critical.

 

With patience and good technique a proper profile head shot can really show the character of the subject.

 

With patience and good technique a proper profile head shot can really show the character of the subject.

 

Try to avoid bad news during a shoot if at all possible.  In this case lunch was postponed and those who work for a living depend on proper nourishment.

 

Try to avoid bad news during a shoot if at all possible.  In this case lunch was postponed and those who work for a living depend on proper nourishment.

 

Once again, zoom in and check the eyes.  You should be able to count the individual eyelashes and hairs of the eyebrow.

 

Once again, zoom in and check the eyes.  You should be able to count the individual eyelashes and hairs of the eyebrow.

 

Full body shots are often requested during a session, but again make sure you pose the subject at a slight angle and if possible make sure they don’t hold anything in front of their mouth.

 

Full body shots are often requested during a session, but again make sure you pose the subject at a slight angle and if possible make sure they don’t hold anything in front of their mouth.

 

I can’t overstress how important it is to zoom in and check the focus of the eyes.  Without proper eye focus the entire shot won’t look right and for sure won’t stand up to enlargements.

 

I can’t overstress how important it is to zoom in and check the focus of the eyes.  Without proper eye focus the entire shot won’t look right and for sure won’t stand up to enlargements.

 

A good technique to generate extra business is to take a few quick one of the family during the session.  In this case the mother and newborn looked on as the father had his headshots captured for his real estate office.

 

A good technique to generate extra business is to take a few quick one of the family during the session.  In this case the mother and newborn looked on as the father had his headshots captured for his real estate office.

 

Headshots are requested for all sorts of reasons, agents request shots of the entertainers they represent, businesses often hand employee head shots in view of the public, many professionals put them on business cards, and sometimes you’ll even see them on the side of a bus or on a full size billboard.  It’s important you follow the simple rules we just went over, there’s no substitute for good technique when trying to turn out a quality product.

 

Headshots are requested for all sorts of reasons, agents request shots of the entertainers they represent, businesses often hand employee head shots in view of the public, many professionals put them on business cards, and sometimes you’ll even see them on the side of a bus or on a full size billboard.  It’s important you follow the simple rules we just went over, there’s no substitute for good technique when trying to turn out a quality product.