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Thread started 24 Feb 2017 (Friday) 05:34
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Corporate headshots

 
jebrady03
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Post has been edited 8 months ago by jebrady03.
Feb 24, 2017 05:34 |  #1

My wife works for a small tech company (close to 40 employees with 5 being on a different continent and another handful working remotely from home) and their website has outdated, low-quality headshots of the management team that needed updating. I agreed to shoot 2 of them for her, one of which was a personal friend of hers and the other was her boss who was a new-hire. I thought it would be a good experience for me. I used a bank of windows in their break room for light along with an off-camera flash bounced off the ceiling for fill. They loved what I did but I didn't care for the flat lighting. I also spent a ton of time editing because the light wasn't great. Oh well, it was a learning experience.

Fast forward several months and those two headshots had joined the rest of the headshots on their website and stood out like a sore thumb (in a good way) and it was time for her company's annual meeting where they fly in all the employees to the HQ and have a series of meetings and events for a week. My wife sent me a message while at work one day asking if I would be willing to do it again for the remaining executives (which would be 6 more people). The last time it took me about an hour and a half to do the other two plus a ridiculous amount of time editing (I was trying to learn Capture One so that was a big part of it) and I really wasn't looking forward to spending 3x that amount of time taking free pictures so I started to balk at the idea. My wife expressed serious disappointment that I wouldn't do this for her (she IS the HR department in her company and her boss was counting on her and neither of them really understand that good pictures aren't easy) and to help her out, I agreed to do it - but I explained that between shooting and editing, she was asking for NUMEROUS hours of my time for free. I even found a couple of local corporate headshot photographers online and sent her links to their websites with pricing showing that in general, they were charging about $100 per headshot so she was asking for $600 of free work from me. Between the time she asked me and I agreed, the entire sales team was lumped into the shoot so the headcount ballooned to 19 people!

WOW!

So, I set out to learn more about corporate headshots as I had about a month's worth of time. I watched a ton of videos, checked out a lot of forum posts, and looked into a off-camera flash FB group as well. I ended up buying 3 of the newest Yongnuo 600EX RT-II flashes (clones of Canon's 600EXII RT flashes - of which I own 2 already) and an Apollo Orb (43" flash modifier) as well as a triple hotshoe bracket to go inside the orb. I also already owned several MagMod modifiers including the Mag Grid. Finally, I also owned a reflector which I dusted off and figured out how to use seeing as how I basically had never used it before.

After a lot of videos, forum posts, and a lot of "selfies" (thank goodness for wifi enabled cameras!) I felt confident going into the shoot. Here are a couple of BTS pictures I took with my phone...

Can never be too prepared, IMO... lol

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3861/33045153446_994ea14cbd_o.jpg

I moved all the furniture out of the room and took it over :-) This is a little area with a TV (which you can see behind the stack of tables [one upright with another on it's side on top of it] I used for the background - this was to keep a consistent look with the other headshots I took and was a spur-of-the-moment decision that day I took the first two), two couches, and a couple of chairs. Tech companies have it SO easy!

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2604/32241267644_974f7b44fe_o.jpg

Flash settings. Group A was a single flash, double gridded (with MagMod grid) in the back right of the photo above. Group B was the 3 Yongnuo flashes inside the Apollo Orb which was also gridded because when ungridded it was heavily spilling onto my table-background.

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2912/33086915875_065da3bb88_o.jpg

Camera settings - the entire shoot was done in Live View on the 5Ds with the EF 135mm f/2L

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3850/33086915685_aee4984abf_o.jpg

And a couple of images that I'd happily accept feedback on!

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3728/33045126276_dab8e1e0a5_o.jpg

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3786/33045125996_49129859f0_o.jpg

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2484/32241272544_0e8e9f25dd_o.jpg

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3694/32241272344_9f59f3f604_o.jpg

Thanks for any feedback you're willing to offer!

EDIT: I forgot to mention - because of the consistent, high quality lighting and setup, I was able to VERY quickly tackle this project as well as the post processing. I had originally allotted 6 hours to take all 19 headshots but only needed about 2.5 and much of that was waiting for people who were told their picture would be early to mid-afternoon but ended up being in the morning, so they needed to get ready (everyone who works there walks around in casual clothes with little-to-no make-up). Post processing was me working on one image in LR and then copying the edits to every other image, then going back and doing skin retouching and any other minor tweaks. So, in total I probably spent 8 hours on the entire project. And got paid... nothing. But, my wife looks like a superstar in her company which definitely carries a LOT of value.



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rjharris
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Near Dallas
Feb 24, 2017 05:43 |  #2

They look good, did you do if for free still? I've not been asked to do corporate headshots for free but not looking forward to that day when it happens.




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jebrady03
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Feb 24, 2017 05:46 as a reply to rjharris's post |  #3

I did. I didn't have any choice. They did thank me endlessly, gave me $100 in Visa gift cards, and my wife is a hero. That last part is where the real value is. Because I did this for free, I didn't go over the top with edits.




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Nogo
I could have been worse....
Joined Dec 2013
All Along the Natchez Trace (Clinton, MS)
Feb 24, 2017 05:52 |  #4

The images look good, but seem quite dark for the average business website. It may pay to make a version of each image where they are lightened up in case that would look better on the website.


Philip
Does the TF actually know about the soda cans and PVC pipe from 30 years ago?

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Savethemoment
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Post has been edited 8 months ago by Savethemoment.
Feb 24, 2017 06:33 |  #5

Just be glad they didn't ask you to shoot them in a group!

I was asked recently by a friend, who is also a colleague, to take a group shot of about 8 people at our office. I agreed, mostly to help her out and also because I thought it would be good practice. I didn't go to nearly as much trouble as you with the setup, using only a 5Div with 24-70 f2.8 & 2 600EXRTs - one bounced off the ceiling & the other off a wall.

Posing them all so they looked relaxed yet professional, and suitably placed relative to each other given their differing heights and clothing colours etc was something of a challenge, especially since they were quite a confident and talkative group who had their own ideas about all this! But the hardest part was trying to achieve even just one shot where nobody had their eyes closed in a blink; or was looking away from the camera; or had decided to say something and therefore had their mouth twisted mid-word; or had an awkward looking closed-lipped smile. I gave them lots of guidance and reassurance but was to some extent learning as I went.

After only a few minutes their smiles and expressions had, despite everyone's best efforts, become rather fixed and unconvincing (as it is pretty much inevitable I suppose, unless people are actually trained models).

We only ended up with one shot which was really any good, although still not perfect. It may have been easier to take individual shots of everyone and put them together in a composite, but that's not really what they were after. I had warned them that I hadn't done this type of shot before and could not guarantee good results, but using a professional was out of the question for various reasons including timing.

Anyway the whole experience left me with a much better appreciation of what is involved in trying to take these corporate type shots! It looks as if you did a great job, I'm glad your wife's company is happy and I'm sure you learned a lot, which will help you achieve even better results in future. As for me, my colleagues are happy enough with that one shot and will be using it as intended. But I am in no particular hurry to try this sort of thing again ;-)a


Always learning
Always looking for the good light

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Intheswamp
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Joined Sep 2013
South Alabama
Feb 24, 2017 07:18 |  #6

Savethemoment, I've read a couple of places to instruct the group to close their eyes and then count 1-2-3-open...you (the photographer) count one more "count" and take the shot.

Also...head transplants aren't totally out of the question. ;)


www.beeweather.comexternal link

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jebrady03
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Feb 24, 2017 19:06 |  #7

You know what's funny? I asked my wife if I'd need to bring a wide angle lens for any group shots. She checked around and everyone said no. Just before I left, an entire department (9 people) was eating lunch together and asked me to take a group picture. I just looked at my wife with a "told you" face, shared the story, and then grabbed the wide angle zoom that I brought with me just in case. I didn't really nail the lighting on it (shadows on the faces of the people in the back row and really should have used one more light to eliminate them) but they loved the picture anyway.




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rjharris
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Near Dallas
Feb 24, 2017 20:25 as a reply to jebrady03's post |  #8

That doesn't surprise me. There's a ton of people with digital cameras these days and many of them cant take a decent shot so when one is exposed and focused correctly the composition and anything else doesn't really matter.




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Savethemoment
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Sydney, Australia
Feb 25, 2017 00:44 |  #9

Intheswamp wrote in post #18283603 (external link)
Savethemoment, I've read a couple of places to instruct the group to close their eyes and then count 1-2-3-open...you (the photographer) count one more "count" and take the shot.

Also...head transplants aren't totally out of the question. ;)

Yes we tried the counting to 3 trick but one person still had her eyes closed when I took the shot :lol:

Head transplants may have been the way to go, but I wasn't really keen to devote that much time to post processing these shots.


Always learning
Always looking for the good light

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PhotogWannabe
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Joined Nov 2006
West Coast of Canada
Feb 26, 2017 11:09 |  #10

Savethemoment wrote in post #18284446 (external link)
...Head transplants may have been the way to go, but I wasn't really keen to devote that much time to post processing these shots.

Most of the time I find eye transplants a lot easier to do than a head transplant. (Keepers, that sounds strange! :-))




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Jethr0
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ON, Canada
Feb 26, 2017 11:52 |  #11

The headshots look great!
Thanks for sharing your gear setup too!

I dodged the freebie bullet a few times. "Well hon, sure I could do the photo booth, but keep in mind in addition to getting ready for the office Xmas party you'll need to help me lug 3 bags and 2 bins of gear, we have to leave an hour early, and I need you as an assistant."


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Intheswamp
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Joined Sep 2013
South Alabama
Feb 27, 2017 08:03 |  #12

PhotogWannabe wrote in post #18285599 (external link)
Most of the time I find eye transplants a lot easier to do than a head transplant. (Keepers, that sounds strange! :-))

I agree that the less area that is transplanted the easier/faster the process is...a face or partial face transplant is definitely easier for this rookie (me!). :)


www.beeweather.comexternal link

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BlackBull
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Lancashire
Feb 28, 2017 05:38 |  #13

These look great. I'm glad they gave you something for your time and effort.


Lancashire Wedding Photographer ǀ Rob Georgeson Photography (external link)

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c ­ eless
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Joined Jan 2014
Feb 28, 2017 12:57 |  #14

These all look good. I think the hair light could have been moved further around the back and placed higher. Anytime you can make the wife look good at work and buy new gear, that's a win-win situation. Even if you didn't get paid.




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jebrady03
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Feb 28, 2017 15:29 as a reply to c eless's post |  #15

Thanks everyone!

I agree about the hair light. In retrospect, I should have just put it up behind the backdrop (tables) and off to the side just a bit and angled it down.




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