Actor's headshots - Advice

4 years 11 months ago #426574 by JeremyS
I have been asked to take headshots of actors performing in a local play here. I am leaning towards clam shell style lighting because it is a classic lighting style. I am wondering what kind of backdrop I should try and have - bear in mind I don't have seamless, I have a brown/beige muslin and that is pretty much it right now. I'm restricted to two lights and 2 reflectors. 

Another question I have is what lens to use, I have a 50mm and a 70-300mm. I'm leaning towards a 70mm if I am going to be shoot clam shell so that I can get in tight enough to have the lights close enough. My Lighting modifiers are a snoot/softbox/umbrella. 

What do people here recommend as this is the first kind of assignment like this. 


Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

4 years 11 months ago #426615 by icepics
I think it's better to take on an assignment once you know what will work best and what equipment you'll need, etc. It seems like it would be beneficial to get more practice and learning first. I think it might be better to refer people to where they can find a pro photographer til you have the skills necessary to know how to do this on your own.

Sharon
Photo Comments

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

4 years 11 months ago - 4 years 11 months ago #426646 by JeremyS

icepics wrote: I think it's better to take on an assignment once you know what will work best and what equipment you'll need, etc. It seems like it would be beneficial to get more practice and learning first. I think it might be better to refer people to where they can find a pro photographer til you have the skills necessary to know how to do this on your own.


Question, how do you expect me to get better without taking risks, and secondly, I didn't mention it was a paid job. I am asked to do it through association. 


Edit: It is impossible for me to get better without trying to do things myself, I can study all I like, and I have. If I just pass everything off to somebody else I can never get better, which I want to become better. That is why I asked, however if people would rather me just pass the project off I'll just delete the thread.


Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

4 years 11 months ago #426651 by JeremyS
If you think I am absolutely clueless, I am asking about advice, I'm not asking people to do it for me. I know what I want to do, I am wondering how people may think I could do this better. It is not that I am going in blind, because god knows the amount of time spent studying lights, lighting schemes, modifier effects, focal length and subject.

If this was a situation that I knew I could not handle it I would not take it on.


Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

4 years 11 months ago #426661 by garyrhook
Hm. I don't see how that was helpful. Other than, perhaps a "how to/how not to"-type of thread. So let me see what I can add.

Get a Thunder Gray backdrop. With proper lighting it can made to go black or white, or left at gray. You can also use colored gels on the backdrop to add some color. Very versatile. And gray will work very well for your head shots. I've seen some very clever things done with it. Clever trick: cover a snoot with aluminum foil, then punch some 1/2 inch holes (or so) into it, then cover with a gel. Aim at the backdrop at an angle. Take photo. But you only have two lights...

Find a space, set up, and practice with a willing victim. Your key light (prime) should be up and over at about 45 degress; put the other light behind and opposite. This will act a bit like a rim light on the opposite side. The combo should give you separation from the background, and some dramatic, hollywood style lighting. Look at my recent selfies on Viewbug to see what can be done with 2 lights.

Use the longer lens, over 100mm of you can. You don't really need that much space for a headshot.


Photo Comments

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

4 years 11 months ago #426702 by JeremyS

garyrhook wrote: Hm. I don't see how that was helpful. Other than, perhaps a "how to/how not to"-type of thread. So let me see what I can add.

Get a Thunder Gray backdrop. With proper lighting it can made to go black or white, or left at gray. You can also use colored gels on the backdrop to add some color. Very versatile. And gray will work very well for your head shots. I've seen some very clever things done with it. Clever trick: cover a snoot with aluminum foil, then punch some 1/2 inch holes (or so) into it, then cover with a gel. Aim at the backdrop at an angle. Take photo. But you only have two lights...

Find a space, set up, and practice with a willing victim. Your key light (prime) should be up and over at about 45 degress; put the other light behind and opposite. This will act a bit like a rim light on the opposite side. The combo should give you separation from the background, and some dramatic, hollywood style lighting. Look at my recent selfies on Viewbug to see what can be done with 2 lights.

Use the longer lens, over 100mm of you can. You don't really need that much space for a headshot.


Yes, I have plans on getting a seamless. Space is my current issue, In my current and near future living arrangements space is a bit of a premium, I haven't been able to shoot with the rembrandt type lighting yet however I will likely give it a go. To circumnavigate my backdrop I'm thinking about trying to black out as much of it as possible, that way It is strictly the actor and they are not competing with anything.

Because of not usually having much space this part is new to me, I've only ever been able to shoot with a 50 in my home studio setup.

Thanks for the tips Gary, it was helpful :)


Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 5 months ago #537338 by Meiko
I'm sure you've done the shoot by now, but from my experience focal length is 75% of taking a good portrait, and completely comes down to the subject.

Ryan Gosling looks good shot really up close and wide – which is why films like Drive have the camera a foot away from his face.

This would give some faces a fishbowl effect, but Ryan's eyes are naturally quite close together, which can make his face look overly wide when shot on something like a 200. So the key is: make every decision based on what you see. Astonishing the number of photographers who think, shot, and only then see what they've taken in the editing process.


Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

802.3K

205K

1.62M

  • Facebook

    802,251 / Likes

  • Twitter

    205,000 / Followers

  • Google+

    1,620,816 / Followers

Latest Reviews

The Nikon Z50 is an entry-level mirrorless camera, but has many high-end features that make it an interesting proposition for many photographers. Get the scoop on this little camera in this Nikon Z50 review.

Jan 15, 2020

In this Sony a7 III vs Nikon D500 head-to-head battle, find out which camera best suits your needs for still photography and video (and your budget, too).

Jan 09, 2020

The Panasonic GH4 might be going on six years old, but it still packs a punch, even in 2020. Learn about all the specs and features of this camera in our Panasonic GH4 review.

Dec 31, 2019

If you have your eye on a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, check out its specs, pricing, and availability to be sure you get the best deal.

Dec 26, 2019

Forum Top Posters

Latest Articles

With options for just about every budget, this list of the best microphones of 2020 has something for everyone and just about every purpose.

Jan 24, 2020

Buying a used DSLR can be an adventure if you don't know what to look for or where to buy from. Use these tips for buying a used DSLR to get the best deal and the best quality camera possible.

Jan 23, 2020

Using a drone for B-roll is an excellent option for getting interesting footage that enhances your videos. Get a few tips for shooting B-roll with a drone in this tutorial.

Jan 23, 2020

The best backdrops can make your portraits shine with beautiful colors and textures that add interest to the shot. But what are the best photography backdrops? Consult this list to find out!

Jan 22, 2020

There are all types of graduated ND filters, each of which offers specific benefits for your landscape photography. Find out the benefits of these filters in this guide!

Jan 22, 2020

If you're in the market for an inexpensive full frame camera this year, look no further than this list of some cheap full frame mirrorless and DSLR options.

Jan 20, 2020

What photography gear upgrades are you planning for 2020? As you update your kit, bear these essential photography accessories in mind.

Jan 20, 2020

Not sure how to earn more money as a photographer? With these photography business tips, learn how to boost your photography income and improve your bottom line.

Jan 16, 2020