Actor's headshots - Advice

4 years 6 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 6 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 6 months ago - 4 years 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 1 week 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

In this Fujifilm X100F review, learn about its essential features and specs, its pros and cons, and where you can pick one up for a great price.

Aug 16, 2019

The Nikon D500 might be several years old, but it's still a highly capable camera. In this Nikon D500 review, learn why it's still a good investment in 2019.

Aug 16, 2019

In this Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S review, learn about its specs, features, build quality, handling, price, and more.

Aug 13, 2019

The Fujifilm X-T2 might be three years old, but it's still a highly capable camera with specs and features that will suit just about any photographer in 2019.

Aug 12, 2019

Forum Top Posters

Latest Articles

Sure, photography gear is expensive, but with these top gifts for photographers under $100, you can get your loved one an awesome gift without breaking the bank!

Aug 23, 2019

Photo by Martin dela Nougerede, UCL MSSL I was listening to a podcast the other day where I found out that there is a group of scientists (astrophysicists,...

Aug 23, 2019

If you're in the market for a gear upgrade, be sure you learn what to check when buying a used camera before you drop any cash on a new-to-you camera.

Aug 22, 2019

Where can you see the northern lights? All over the Northern Hemisphere...but the locations listed here are among the best sites to take in the view of the northern lights.

Aug 22, 2019

Shopping for photography insurance isn't exactly an excited venture, but with the best photography insurance companies of 2019/2020, you can at least get affordable coverage you need quickly and easily!

Aug 21, 2019

With a big budget, there's no end to what you can give your favorite photographer this holiday season. See what some of the best gifts for photographers under $2,500 are in 2019!

Aug 20, 2019

Photography clients can be hard to find and even harder to keep, but with these photography business tips, you'll learn how to retain clients for the long-term.

Aug 20, 2019

Though being a new photographer means you probably have a ton of questions, there are some beginner photography questions that professionals are tired of hearing.

Aug 19, 2019