Lets start with the setup.
Learning to do a good studio headshot is essential for Commercial Portrait Photography.
This is the lighting diagram I gave to my assistants for the headshot setup. As usual I'm using my trusty Interfit 500W monolight strobes and modifiers.
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Image setting and gear:
Canon 70-200mm L series at 135mm
Why these settings? I wanted a sharp image, so ISO 100 creates less grain/pixelation, and f/5.6 gives a nice shallow DOF, but not so shallow that anything on the face is out of focus. The shutter I wanted fast to avoid camera shake when hand holding a large heavy lens.
Interfit S1 Strobes and modifiers at work: 4 strobes: If you take a look at the lighting diagram above, you can see the layout for each modifier. A large Octabox for the key-light, a smaller beauty dish below for fill, and backlight with a grid for a little hair-light and separation from the background, and a background light to light the cyc.
Erica Cobb's headshot = @EricaCobbMedia
Here is BTS of what that lighting set-up looks like.
We also did some full length photos of each cast member and I simply pulled the bottom fill light down and back to the side so it was not in the shot. I then pumped up the light to give more output to evenly light the body. Here are a couple of samples.
Lighting different skin tones
I'm often asked by clients if I can light different skin tones properly, especially if they are in the same photo together, as in our group shot in the previous blogpost here. And photographers just starting out tend to be daunted by this. This has never been an issue for me, and it is always a pet peeve of mine when I see people lit improperly, especially people of color in Film and TV. You simply light your darker subjects more and your lighter subjects less. Yes I know, easier said then done. But really if you are paying attention, when a darker skinned person steps on to your set, you open up your settings to let in more light, and visa versa for a lighter skinned person. With groups, you may want to have your lighter people back from your light source more, and/or put a directional light on your darker subjects to make sure all are evenly lit. The rule of thumb is not to over expose in digital photography, so we need to error on the side of a little under exposed. Just make sure no highlights are so overexposed that the data is missing from your image.
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All the Best! Jennifer