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Tips for Taking Great Headshots

March 3, 2016 11:10 am

As the weather improves and spring arrives, it marks the start of another season: acting season. The acting industry picks up in the nicer weather, and this means an increase in the hopeful actors and actresses who need the perfect headshot to help them land a coveted print, commercial, modeling or movie gig. Appearance matters in acting and the headshot with the main focus on the person’s face can make or break an aspiring artist’s chances. Help your clients put their best face forward with some helpful tips for taking great headshots that won’t end up in the recycle bin.

The eyes have it

A person’s eyes have a way of capturing attention and conveying their feelings, personality and attractiveness. Ensuring that the headshots you take show the client’s eyes in clear, crisp detail is essential to establishing a connection between the viewer and the actor.

The right angle

Angles are powerful in headshots and affect the overall feel of the image. To make a woman’s face appear more delicate and their eyes larger, shoot them with a downward angle. Men should appear strong and confident so shoot them with a slightly upward angle.

Diffuse the light

Skin is the central feature in close-up images like headshots, so you need to diminish the look of blemishes with diffused light. Diffused light wraps gently around the skin and defines the face with a softer, more flattering effect. Reducing blemishes in the original shot saves time on editing later.

Illuminate the hair

Headshots require detail to be effective, and using a hair-light can make them more dynamic. Placing a hair-light behind of either a flash or the sun behind or above the client adds depth to the shot and helps differentiate their head from the background.

The right lens

Lens distortion can ruin a headshot, so it’s best to avoid wide angle or mid angle lenses for these closeup shot. Using a lens that’s 90mm or larger slims the face and compresses the image.

Expression matters

As a photographer, you need to bring out a natural look from your subjects and their expression should match the purpose of the headshot. You can evoke the right expression by asking questions to make them thoughtful or telling jokes to bring out a natural smile.

Avoid the double chin

In a certain light and certain poses, almost everyone has the dreaded double chin in photos. Nobody wants a double chin in their photo and having one in a headshot can ruin an actor’s chances of landing a gig. As a portrait or headshot photographer, you need to accentuate your client’s jawline and avoid unflattering head-on shots. Fortunately, renowned headshot photographer Peter Hurley shares some very useful tips in the video “It’s all about the Jaw!”

Once you’ve captured some great headshots, ensure their high-quality development by bringing them to Baboo Digital. Your clients will thank you.

Featured image by Dan Finnen