New York Photographer { Commercial Business Headshots Dr. Gendel }

Commercial Photography New York Headshot

First off if you’re looking for a New York Photographer check out my main website.

I recently had a chance to do some head-shots for a local psychiatrist for use on some local publications.  I really loved being able to learn from the experience and have a good chance to show off a few different ways in which you can get a business portrait, and some ways where you can make your head shots really pop.

I think my first caveat to getting some great business head shots is to make sure that you are using good off camera lighting.  Without off camera lighting you’re not going to get that nice soft light that is so traditional with business head shots.  This first shot was created by having a shoot through umbrella camera right set on about 1/8 power.

Here are the photo stats and then we can talk about how I set this shot up.

Exposure: 1/250 sec
Aperture: f/3.5
Focal Length: 130 mm
ISO Speed: 200

So we set him up about 10 feet from some nice foliage in the background that had some great sunlight falling on it.  I also put him in the shade so I didn’t have to worry about trying to balance flash, and sunlight, and make sure that there were no horrible shadows.  I find that for these types of photography shoots, you want good soft light, nothing harsh.  Which means if you’re going to do the photography outside, you’re either going to have to perfectly balance sunlight (time consuming challenge), or you just throw them in the shade.  Also you have to keep in mind that these people are usually very busy, and can think of a million things they would rather be doing than having their picture taken.  In this situation I had time to “play”, but that’s often not the case.  You have to be mindful of this, and make sure that you’re always conscience of that fact.  Nonetheless I wanted good headshots quickly.  I think that shoot through creates the best light for this situation.  A beauty dish would have been a tad too harsh.  I think the other things that I would have used if I had them were either an octobox, or a rectangular lightbox.  The one thing that I do light about the shoot through umbrella is the fact that I get a bright spot near the center of the umbrella, and a bit of falloff around the edges of the frame naturally.  I think that adds to creating the point of focus as the main subject.

Of course aperture helps with this.  I can’t imagine photographing this much more closed up than f/4.  As long as you focus on the eyes, don’t have catch lights in the glasses, you should be fine shooting more or less wide open.  In this situation I was using my 70-200, which at 2.8 isn’t as sharp as I wanted, so I stopped it down a touch.

I think this photograph gives a nice outdoor feel, less stuffy than an office, and adds to creating a warm welcoming portrait.  It might be a little less traditional than the typical gray background shot, but hopefully it adds a bit of selection to the client for selecting a head shot that’s going to fit them the best.

As far as post production goes.  Really I did almost nothing to these photographs.  I shot them pretty good right out of the camera, so all I really needed to do was a bit of contrast, and sharpening, and that was about it.

Something else that I was a bit surprised by while shooting these commercial portraits was the fact that unlike most of my other shoots where I rarely show the clients the unfinished shots,  here the client and I were going through each shot, and picking the ones that he felt most comfortable with.  Now of course you could develop a ton of shots, send them off to the client and have them pick the ones they liked, but here I found it was much easier to do it during the shoot.  It really helped me get an idea for A. How the shoot was going, and B. More what the client liked and didn’t like.  This allowed me to tailor the shoot to his specific likes and dislikes on the fly.  Now if he had been making ridiculous suggestions then I’m not quite sure how I would have handled that, but in this case he was very easy to work with.

New York Commercial Photography Headshots

As you can see in this shot we went a bit more traditional with a simpler dark gray background.  Although here I tried to give a bit more depth by not shooting against a plain dull muslin background.  This was actually shot outside, against a garage door.  Of course you can’t tell because I had the subject stand about 6′ away from the background.  This allowed me to completely separate him from the background and just get a wash of gray behind him.

Exposure: 1/250 sec
Aperture: f/3.5
Focal Length: 135 mm
ISO Speed: 200

Again this is a shoot through umbrella, and an outdoor shot.  I think the outdoor light is just so much more appealing.  I’ll show you the only indoor photograph I gave to the client here in a sec, but lets just say that I really like the quality of the light here in these shots so much more than the indoor shots.  I think in this shot the flash was at about 1/8 power, just enough to give some directional light, and create depth and contrast, but nothing overpowering.  Also have you noticed that there is no flash in the glasses?  That part was easy, as long as the flash is pointing in such a way that the reflected light is reflected away from the camera you should be fine, and you most likely wont get any reflections back to the camera.

Here’s the last shot, and my least favorite.

New York Commercial Photographer Dave Brown shows us his version of a commercial headshot

Again the indoor light for these situations just doesn’t look quite as nice as outdoor shade.   Here I had the subject sit near a window with some shades on it that were perfect for diffusing the light, but they also colored the light just a tad.  Something I didn’t notice until post.  If I had to do it over again, I would have opted to just create the non-key light by one of my flashes.  This would have made sure that the light was not colored, and didn’t have any hue cast to it.

Anyways I hope you like em


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.