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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre People Talk 
Thread started 13 May 2015 (Wednesday) 08:21
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Corporate headshots?

 
esheato
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May 13, 2015 08:21 |  #1

Hello all,

My girlfriend asked me to take some corporate headshots of her non-profit leadership. Most likely less than 10 people. I have traditionally shot my family, friends and my son for albums, digital sharing, etc. I have zero experience with this type of event, and I'd like to pick your brain to avoid commonly made mistakes.

My goal is sharp shots with good white balance and symmetry (between shots..ie, posing, lighting, white balance, etc) for a clean presentation on their web site. I plan on low ISO (around 100 if lighting allows) and an aperture of f/5.6 or so. I will also be using a grey card in my initial shots, and copying that setting throughout.

I will most likely be in a conference room with no windows and fluorescent lights above. I haven't seen the space yet, but I'm hoping to have enough room to stage them away from the wall.

As far as equipment, I have a 1DsMkII, a 24-70 f/2.8 and a 70-200 f/2.8. I have a Yongnuo Speedlite clone for flash and a Gary Fong diffuser. I think the 70-200 would be best, but am open to suggestions. I also figure I'll aim the flash (sans diffuser) to the ceiling and bounce it.

Being a non-profit (and my girlfriends place of employment), I am doing this out of the kindness of my heart. If they don't end up perfect, that's acceptable, as there is no exchange of money...but I'd like to put my best foot forward and give them something they can work with. For what it's worth, they lobby on Capitol Hill (Washington DC) for STEM education and are a part of the Challenger.org organization in support of the Challenger shuttle disaster in 1985.

As far as my process, I'm fairly certain I'm going to use a tripod, shoot portrait (shoulders up), and place some tape on the floor as an index point to guarantee good body placement, etc.

Should I manually focus?

Do I need a background? Clean white paper? I don't really feel like spending money as I'm not making money.

Any tips? Pitfalls? Commonly made mistakes I need to be aware of?

Thank you in advance.

Ed


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nathancarter
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May 13, 2015 10:54 |  #2

Lighting and expression are the most important part. Your goal is to make the subjects look good. Watch Peter Hurley videos on posing, especially "It's All About the Jaw."

Before taking the photo, LOOK at the subject to make sure they're prepared. This seems like it should go without saying, but ... tie is straight, coat isn't rumpled, hair is straight, no lint or stray strings on the coat, etc etc. Chat them up just a bit while you're at it.

You MIGHT be able to scrape by with one on-camera flash, bounced - if you're skilled with bounce flash, that is. Most "standard" headshots are a two- or three-light setup: One for main, one for fill, and one for kicker/rim/hair/backgr​ound light.

If you're in a small light-colored room, the Fong diffuser might not be a bad idea, to provide plenty of fill. If you're in a small room with weird-colored walls you'll need a bit more control over where your light goes.

Turn off the fluorescents, or use camera settings that will kill all ambient. Mixing flash with fluorescent is usually a crummy idea for a novice.

If you want consistency, don't rely on ETTL or any of the automatic modes. Those will vary the exposure based on the contents of the frame. The camera will want to underexpose a fair-skinned lady with long blond hair and a light-colored coat (she SHOULD be bright but the camera will make her average-gray), and overexpose a dark-skinned guy in a charcoal coat (he SHOULD be dark but the camera will want to make him average-gray). However, you'll need an assistant or stand-in or light-meter to help you set up and dial in your settings before starting on the "real" shots.

A tripod isn't necessary. It will just be in the way. Some people will be much much taller than others, and a tripod just gives you unnecessary crap to deal with. A stepstool is a good idea, so you can shoot that really tall guy from eye level.

Tape on the floor is a great idea; otherwise people will walk right over to the wall/backdrop and put their back right against it.

Don't manually focus, it's a cumbersome process for this style of portraiture. DO choose the focus point the camera will use for AF. Choose the point that's nearest the eye. Use a small enough aperture that the shots will be OK even if you miss focus a little bit. f/5.6 is about the widest I would go.

I like the 70-200 for shots like this; the 85-135 range is a great length for face/bust shots. The upside is if you stand a bit away and zoom in, you can get away with a small backdrop. The downside is that it'll make the on-camera flash a bit harder to manage.

If you can, go scope out the location beforehand, take some snapshots with your phone and report back.


http://www.avidchick.c​om (external link) for business stuff
http://www.facebook.co​m/VictorVoyeur (external link) for fun stuff

  
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ksbal
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May 13, 2015 11:03 |  #3

I agree with the scope/test out before hand.

Most conference rooms have some sort of whiteboard now days, and if it is clean it will work good enough.

1.Do kill the fluorescent lights with the shutter speed, or minimize them as much as possible.

2. I really think you ought to try to get a stand and umbrella with flash holder if possible.

Here is what I've done with different setups...

This particular day they called me needing a headshot in the next hour, so I made due with what I had.

First up, a rogue flashbender and bounce - the result, and the setup


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ksbal
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May 13, 2015 11:12 |  #4

Here is one with a 3 light set up, and a pleather polyester fabric bg


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ksbal
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May 13, 2015 11:13 |  #5

Somewhere, I have one where I did a bounce with a single light into a corner, but I'll have to dig for it.


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FarmerTed1971
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Post edited over 3 years ago by FarmerTed1971.
     
May 13, 2015 11:14 |  #6

Buy an umbrella and get the flash off the hotshoe.

Try f6.3 - 8.


Getting better at this - Fuji Xt-2 - Fuji X-Pro2 - 18-55 - 23/35/50 f2 WR - 50-140 - flickr (external link) - www.scottaticephoto.co​m

  
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tdlavigne
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May 13, 2015 19:00 |  #7

With the limited lighting I'd suggest considering bringing a backdrop to the lobby or any openshade area outside and shooting with natural light. Buy a sheet in whatever color you prefer at BigLots or something for a backdrop. Dealing with fluorescents, and only one speedlight is going to be less than ideal.

The color backdrop depends on several things, including the wardrobe they'll have, the company colorscheme, skin tones, etc. I find a light grey is usually the safest bet.




  
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Corporate headshots?
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