As a professional photographer, I have had the opportunity to shoot hundreds of headshots and portraits in both studio and on-location settings.
Headshots are typically used for professional purposes such as corporate websites, LinkedIn profiles, and business cards and the purpose of a headshot is to capture the personality of the subject and convey a professional and approachable image. To achieve this, the lighting and composition of the photo are crucial.
When shooting headshots in a studio setting, I prefer to use a white or grey background, as it allows me to focus solely on the subject’s face. I also use soft lighting to create a natural and flattering look, and I always try to make the subject feel comfortable and at ease. During the shoot, I talk to the subject, giving them clear directions and making sure they are relaxed and natural in front of the camera.
On the other hand, when shooting headshots on location, the environment plays a big role in the final outcome of the photo. I try to find a location that is clean, uncluttered, and has a neutral or complementary background. The lighting on location can be more challenging to control, but I often use natural light or a mixture of natural light and flash to create a soft and flattering look. The key is to find the right balance between the subject and the background, ensuring that the subject stands out without being overshadowed by the surroundings.
Moving on to portrait photography, portraits are more about capturing the essence of the subject and telling their story through the photo. Unlike headshots, portraits are often more creative and can be taken in a variety of settings, from a park to a city street to a beach and include more than just the head and shoulders.
In a studio setting, I like to experiment with different backgrounds, lighting, and props to create unique and interesting portraits. I often ask the subject to bring something that represents them or their personality, such as a musical instrument or a favourite book, to add a personal touch to the photo. Communication is key during a portrait shoot, as I want to understand what the subject wants to convey through the photo, whether it’s confidence, vulnerability, or playfulness.
On location, I take advantage of the environment to create a narrative around the subject. For example, if I am shooting a portrait of a musician, I might choose a location that has a connection to music, such as a record store or a music venue. I use natural light to create a warm and inviting atmosphere, and I encourage the subject to interact with the surroundings to create a dynamic and engaging portrait.
In both headshot and portrait photography, post-processing is an important step to enhance the final result. I use editing software such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to adjust the exposure, contrast, and colour of the photo, as well as to remove any blemishes or distractions. However, it’s important not to over-edit the photo, as this can detract from the natural and authentic look of the subject.
Headshot and portrait photography are two different types of photography, each with its own unique challenges and opportunities. Whether shooting in a studio or on location, the key is to communicate with the subject, create a comfortable and relaxed environment, and use lighting and composition to enhance the subject’s personality and story. By doing so, I can create powerful and impactful photos that truly capture the essence of the subject.