Headshot photography : Dramatic B&W photos
I had an interesting headshot photo session in the studio this afternoon. The brief from the company was oddly specific about which #Profoto light modifiers need to be used, and the power settings and angles and position, etc.
As it would happen, when they contacted me and sent over the brief, I was all, “Sure, I have all of that.” Because, you know, I do.
I’m always keen on reverse engineering photos anyway, to figure out the lighting — but in this case they made it easy with the diagrams and notations.
The company is rebranding, and have a very specific look that they have in mind for their company’s headshots. I assume they are working with other photographers around the country, and that tight brief gives a consistent look, no matter who shoots it.
Here is the final image, and also a pullback shot to show you the various lights. The main light is a Profoto beauty dish. The bare flash to camera left is to give some light on her hands, and lift some detail in the required black outfit.
Camera: Sony A9ii (B&H / Amazon)
Lens: Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 II (B&H / Amazon)
Photo gear used in this photo session
- (4x) Profoto D1 Air 500 Ws Monolights
- Main light: Profoto beauty dish (B&H / Amazon) with a grid
- Light from below: direct flash at low power
- Curved reflector below: Westcott Eye-lighter (B&H / Amazon)
- Background lights: (2x) Profoto 2×3 RFi softbox (B&H / Amazon)
The main light is from the Beauty Dish to camera right & above. Because it was gridded, I don’t think much (or any) light from it bounced back from the Eye-lighter. But there was a secondary flash, bare-bulb, at low power to bringup detail of her hands and the dress. The light spilling from this flash, would have reflected off the Eyelighter.
There was a black cloth panel to camera left, as required, to reduce light bouncing around the room. This would increase the contrast, helping with a punchy look to the final image.
Studio lighting workshop
If you are interested in learning more about studio lighting, including lighting for headshots, I offer workshops on studio lighting. The workshops will be held at my studio space in NJ, and it has a wide range of studio lighting gear to play with!
- Photographing headshots in a small space
- Headshot photography lighting setups in the studio
- Clam-shell lighting for headshots and portraits
- Headshot photography: What makes for good head shots?
- Headshot photography lighting – Westcott Eyelighter
- Using Profoto gear on photo shoots and events
2 Comments, Add Your Own
1Joe Schmidt says
I have been a photographer since 1962, so I have seen all sorts of things. I am always afraid of assignments like this without having someone from the company there when we do it. There is always room for them to say I didn’t think you were going to do that. I can tell you that many years ago we worked with an advertising agency. The art director called one day and said he had a product to photograph. When we went to pick it up he had no layout just the product. He said here take it and photograph it, make it look good, you know what to do. We did just that. When we returned with the print he said Oh No I didn’t think you would do that. I am not happy with the angle and the lighting, I also don’t like the background and on and on.We were not happy. Since that day I will not take on an assignment like that without someone being there to approve everything before we shoot.
2Kamil Kozinski says
This is a beautiful shot. The model has something magical in her eyes.