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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 12 Oct 2013 (Saturday) 00:29
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POLL: "Too much contrast for corporate headshot?"
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Just right
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That hotspot is killing me! Start over!
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Hotspot and contrast too much for executive headshots?

 
sticknpuck
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Oct 12, 2013 00:29 |  #1

I'm working on doing some headshots for staff and executives and was wondering what you think about this setup. Too much contrast? I also have a bit of a hotspot on the forehead as well. I could try and correct a bit in PS but these are lightroom edits an I would like to keep it that way. Many things I read about corporate headshots indicate the lighting shouldnt be over dramatic and pretty flat but complementary. Is this too much or ok?

What do you think?

This is a BD direct in front overhead and a softlighter type umbrella right about half power for some soft fill.

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dmward
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Oct 13, 2013 17:21 |  #2

I like the look but its not for head shots.
Use the softlighter for the main and something similar for fill.
That will also minimize the hot spot on the forehead.

Remember that short lighting may be more flattering, especially for women and have the head turned enough so only one ear is visible.

Remember, its easier to add contrast in Lightroom via clarity than it is to take it out.


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mike_d
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Oct 13, 2013 17:24 |  #3

It looks a little hot/contrasty but it could also depend on the intended use. I imagine a bank and a tech startup would want different looks.




  
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Zerimar
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Oct 13, 2013 17:38 as a reply to  @ mike_d's post |  #4

It's too hot on the forehead and there is too much contrast.

You want to maintain detail in the highlights, which currently have none.


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sticknpuck
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Oct 13, 2013 18:05 |  #5

Thank you guys. I admire your work and really appreciate the feedback. I'm really happy that you responded.

I think I'll use a softbox instead and really watch the highlights in cam. I guess my exposure was a little too far right... :). Sometimes it just looks too flat in cam. I'll pay more attention to the histogram when shooting and add more pop in post.

As for the look... I am going for something more progressive and modern than say a lawyers headshot but I still want the images to be technically solid and look professional. Will definitely be short lighting or clamshell lighting the women for more flattering looks, but I do like the straight on style of this image for the men. I think it looks strong and modern compared to the traditional professional headshot.


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Nonnit
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Oct 13, 2013 18:29 as a reply to  @ sticknpuck's post |  #6

Before you you go to another setup, it would be interesting to see this shot at lower exposure.

You might be on to something here (with proper exposure).


Nonnit
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dmward
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Oct 13, 2013 19:16 |  #7

Executive head shots are that: Executive head shots. They need to have a look that says executive.
i.e. confident, approachable. That has everything to do with facial expression, pose and complementary lighting. Get the lighting neutral so the image can be used for multiple applications.

Staff should also look about the same. They probably want to be executives in the future. :-)


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sticknpuck
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Oct 14, 2013 02:10 |  #8

Alright guys here's a quick redo of sorts... Tried to reduce the hot spot somewhat using an octabox instead of BD and kept a close watch on the histogram though looking back at the previous images showed no clipping. Also added a reflector cam left to reduce the more dramatic shadows - which I don't like and will likely do without. I think this one is also a more natural looking skin tone. The first I posted is quite yellow...

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Would appreciate your thoughts. I probably should've posted this in the critique thread but anyway...

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Zerimar
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Oct 14, 2013 02:56 as a reply to  @ sticknpuck's post |  #9

Substantially better, I would move the negative space to the other side of the frame as the image would flow better. The detail is all there and the light looks great. Amazing use of the constructive criticism.


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dmward
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Oct 14, 2013 09:10 |  #10

Much improved as headshot lighting.

Before ditching the reflector try moving the light more off the lens axis. Also, try feathering it a bit to camera right to create more fall off then use the reflector to control the ratio.

Shadow under nose and chin is a bit deep.

The catch lights indicate the octa is just about over the lens. Looking at the temples, they are very close to same value which indicates the light has no real ratio from highlight side to fill side.

Moving reflector back a bit to reduce its influence will help as well.


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sticknpuck
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Oct 14, 2013 10:21 |  #11

Thanks Rick. While it's better I'll keep working on it. Amazing Flickr btw... Awesome to see such a wide variety of images all executed so well. Will be following and using for motivation. Question... If you are going into a portrait session like this do you have 3/4 different lighting setups and go through each one or do you have a clear idea of which will work for a given subject based on their facial features, body type etc. and only shoot that? Sometimes it can be difficult to see exactly what will work best for different people without actually doing it.

Thanks DM - will keep that in mind and try and few more setups to see what looks best.


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Nonnit
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Oct 14, 2013 17:59 as a reply to  @ sticknpuck's post |  #12

Much better, I still think it is a little to hot.

Maybe issue with monitor calibration? (mine is not calibrated)


Nonnit
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Zerimar
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Oct 15, 2013 00:09 |  #13

sticknpuck wrote in post #16369957 (external link)
Thanks Rick. While it's better I'll keep working on it. Amazing Flickr btw... Awesome to see such a wide variety of images all executed so well. Will be following and using for motivation. Question... If you are going into a portrait session like this do you have 3/4 different lighting setups and go through each one or do you have a clear idea of which will work for a given subject based on their facial features, body type etc. and only shoot that? Sometimes it can be difficult to see exactly what will work best for different people without actually doing it.

Thanks DM - will keep that in mind and try and few more setups to see what looks best.

Thank you! my website is more updated than flickr.. which has gathered dust..

Here are some examples of using a beauty dish over camera axis with a reflector as fill under it.

On a side note: try using less skin softening/blurring, especially on men. Portraits (especially of men) should have just blemishes removed as the photos look more 'real' without a lot of skin smoothing.

Hopefully these help:

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IMAGE: http://payload43.cargocollective.com/1/6/214596/3177072/David42912%2056909%201.jpg

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sticknpuck
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Oct 15, 2013 19:58 |  #14

Zerimar wrote in post #16371971 (external link)
On a side note: try using less skin softening/blurring, especially on men. Portraits (especially of men) should have just blemishes removed as the photos look more 'real' without a lot of skin smoothing.

Agreed. I got a little carried away there lol.

M


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dmward
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Oct 15, 2013 21:54 |  #15

Zerimar wrote in post #16371971 (external link)
Thank you! my website is more updated than flickr.. which has gathered dust..

Here are some examples of using a beauty dish over camera axis with a reflector as fill under it.

On a side note: try using less skin softening/blurring, especially on men. Portraits (especially of men) should have just blemishes removed as the photos look more 'real' without a lot of skin smoothing.

Hopefully these help:

Really nice examples of how a single light can be used to create dynamic head shots.


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Hotspot and contrast too much for executive headshots?
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