This past weekend I spent both Saturday and Sunday doing headshots for Columbus State University Theatre students.
Here you can see the basic setup for the photos.
I had two lights on the white background and would turn them off for the grey background look.
I kept them on for the white background. I also had a hair light up straight behind the subject.
My main light was a beauty dish and I kept the aperture at ƒ/5.6 with the Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8 lens. Not too shallow of a depth-of-field and not too deep either.
I prefer ƒ/4 to ƒ/5.6 when shooting individual headshots. Occasionally I will use really shallow depth-of-field of ƒ/1.4, but you and the subject must be really still to make that work.
The fun thing with Theatre students is they enjoy trying all kinds of expressions.
So we had some fun looking surprised.
We tried a lot of expressions.
The one thing that happened after trying some goofy photos, surprise photos and even being sad was that the expressions that followed were more genuine and authentic. Actors are up for the fun and challenge, but even they need to loosen up and the best way to do that is to push the limits and then dial it back.
Some tips for headshots
- Keep the setup simple
- Make it easy to change backgrounds
- Encourage people to bring wardrobe changes
- Give yourself time with each person.
- Have fun