Shooting Headshot in a Hotel Room

Shooting headshot in a hotel room is about having a compact system. We were in Phenix, Alabama over Christmas and my daughter needed a new headshot. Her hair color had changed and so I brought this small kit to get her some up to date photos.

I had two Flashpoint XPlor 600 HSS TTL lights that I controlled from my camera using the GODOX X1-N transmitter.

Chelle Leary [NIKON Z 6, 85.0 mm f/1.8, Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 1/800, ƒ/1.8, (35mm = 85)]

The main light is used as a butterfly light using a beauty dish. I am using the Godox Beauty Dish Reflector (White, 16.5″) which has a Bowens mount that works on the Flashpoint 600 lights.

As you can see I am also using one more Flashpoint light behind the subject. I forgot my 30º Grid, so I improvised and put a box around the 7″ reflector to act as a snoot. This kept the light off the background and creating a lens flair with my lens.

I use the Lastolite Triflector MKII Frame + Silver/White Panels under the models face and on the sides to kick light back into her face.

For the background I always carry a Savage Collapsible Stand Kit (60 x 72″, Black/White).

I prefer to shoot with the flashes in manual mode. I started with the main light at 1/128th power. and the same with the back light. This had me shooting on the Nikon Z6 with the 85.0 mm f/1.8, at ISO 100, 1/800, ƒ/1.8.

I got this reading using my ExpoDisc. I hold this over the 85mm lens while facing the light with the beauty dish. I am holding the camera right where the model’s face will be. I take exposures and using the histogram I adjust the exposure until I have a spike in the middle of the histogram.

Then I use the same ExpoDisc and do a custom white balance.

After shooting I decided to change the depth-of-field to a little more depth. So I went from ƒ/1.8 to ƒ/4. I then just raised the power of the flashes by approximately 2 stops. So, now the main light is 1/32 power and did the same for the background.

Chelle Leary [NIKON Z 6, 85.0 mm f/1.8, Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 1/800, ƒ/4, (35mm = 85)]

I shot a few shots using this setup.

Chelle Leary [NIKON Z 6, 85.0 mm f/1.8, Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 1/800, ƒ/4, (35mm = 85)]

There is no light but the fall off from the main light hitting the white background. This gives you the grey look. If you want it black just turn around the background and use the black side.

If you want it white then light the white side with at least the same amount of light hitting the subject. However, I always recommend to get a pure white, just give it one stop more.

Write me if you want to know anything about this setup that I didn’t answer in the blog.