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Student Headshot Demo Part 1

Lesson 30 from: Professional Portraits: Moving Beyond Headshots

Gary Hughes

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Lesson Info

30. Student Headshot Demo Part 1

Lesson Info

Student Headshot Demo Part 1

So my wonderful , wonderful studio audience has agreed to be my guinea pigs for this. So what I wanna do is I wanna show you how to use this lighting that I demoed in an early segment on gear. And how I would use it to create some interesting portraits of normal everyday people who are not models that are not standing in front of the camera all the time. And so it's a lot easier to create images when somebody is used to it. But most of the time, I'm working with people who are lawyers and doctors and accountants and real estate agents and most of them do not have a professional modeling background so, we're go ahead and were gonna try that. But first I wanna explain what I'm doing. So we're gonna do a couple of different things. I'm gonna use this dual lighting setup that I showed you before and it's gonna have your main and your fill on the other side but in order because we have so much space in here I'm also gonna use reflectors to add to the fill and show you a couple of ways that ...

I like to do that. Because we have varying different sort of looks and outfits that are kind of business casual. And I think everybody looks great. We're all kind of in the similar key. I think we all ended up pretty close. And so what we would do is 'cause we have jackets and no jackets and skirts and jeans and whatever, we're gonna be, we're gonna create a company for ourselves. We're gonna be like Kambucha Incorporated. (audience laughing) That's right 'cause we're a relaxed office. We all sit on bouncy balls instead of sit at desk chairs. And it's gonna be awesome. We all have vapor pens and we all watch Game of Thrones. It's gonna be like this is what we talk, everybody plays Pokemon Go. So this is gonna be, yeah Joe, you play Pokemon Go and you're gonna like it. (audience laughing) alright cool. So here's the lighting setup. What I wanna do is to take these two main lights. These are both three by four soft boxes from Larson, the Larson signature soft boxes. And I'm gonna use these to create a broad bank of light that is feathered across so that somebody who is here is going to get a very similar exposure of light to somebody who is there. And so in order to get that, you're gonna need to feather those lights across multiple people. So what I wanna do is create individual pictures for everyone and also create a team picture for everyone just like I would do. It's a very common. There are eight of you and it's a very normal thing for me to go into an office and have to photograph eight to ten people. So that's pretty normal. So what we'll do is, I wanna start by doing one shot for each person. That's a little more relaxed. That's a little more casual. And then create another shot that's a little more using sort of combination posing that we learned a little bit. And then we'll create a couple of different group shots. We'll take turns being the boss. And oh I forgot to mention a rule about who's the boss earlier. Whoever has a mohawk, is the boss. (audience laughing) Thanks for wearing that mohawk today. You're really doing it for me. Okay cool. So, I'm gonna add a couple reflectors. We might need to adjust a little bit so that we can see over these. I don't wanna block anything. I'm gonna kind of create a little wall of light here. Alright, Daniel, why don't you come up first my man. Okay. Face the firing squad. And so something like this I'll probably kind of shoot, maybe I'll start at F4, get something a little bit. Right now I just wanna see what my light's doing. And I got kind of the blinds and the wall and maybe I'll get the floor in the background a little bit. Something like, alright so just gonna see what that light's doing. Okay we're... Here we go, perfect. I don't even mind that we got a little bit of that light back there. (camera clicks) here we go, okay. So we've got nice light but we got a little underexposed so we'll bring it up a touch. Okay cool. So what we've got with this bank of light and this cool reflectors over here, is we've got kind of like a really sort of nice almost natural light window feeling directional light. And we include the background a little bit so I'm go ahead and put an apple box in. I'm gonna put your foot on. Cool. Perfect. Okay so nice and relaxed. Yeah just rest those hands on the legs maybe in this way. Turn this hand in just a little bit, perfect. And then tilt your head this way towards the light turn your head a little bit like that and just relax that spine, your nice casual shot. Perfect, yeah okay I think we got it, cool. So, I'm gonna zoom in a little bit. You're doing a great job man, perfect. I seen then, turn this way just a touch. Yeah there we go, perfect. I want you to bring this elbow out almost a little bit yeah there you go perfect. Now the last thing is, you're gonna lean into me this way a little bit. Tilt a touch, bring that chin down, turn that head this way a little bit. And we're there. There he is boom! Look at that guy! Oh man. And I would like to and create a little more kind of normal approachable look. I'm shooting with a 24 to at probably about 50 millimeters. And this close, what that's gonna do, 50 to sorta anywhere in there, it's gonna be really close to what you call a normal view which is basically, a normal view is what your eye will naturally see, like what you see out of your head is right about with a full frame camera somewhere between 15 and 85. So if you ever look into the camera and then look out and you're like oh that's exactly the same as if the focal is for your eyes so that's gonna be called kind of a normal view and that'll be probably about 60 70 millimeters. Alright cool, chin down a little. Alright. How you doing? Good. are you having a good time? Oh yeah. Was it worth the trip? Oh sure. You're lying to me. (laughs) alright I don't believe you. I wouldn't keep coming back. How many times you been on Creative Live? A lot. Yeah, what's your favorite class? Yours. Aw. (laughs) All of 'em. Very cool, I dig it. Alright want you to lean in to me a little bit more. Chin down a touch, turn your head this way a little bit. All of them. Yeah you really do get to learn from some of them. Best around here, don't yeah? Good, cool, alright. Nice and relaxed. Now what I wanna do is I'm gonna have you turn this way just a little bit. Just lie down to the end and get your feet on the ground a little bit. Yeah almost just sitting on the edge of that thing. Yeah perfect. So when you wanna raise that close knee a little bit so you're not shooting directly into the crotch-al region. There you go, perfect. (laughs) Very cool. You know, bring your right hand back a little bit. Yeah, nice, tilt in a little bit, chin down. There we go. Now the idea is when you're posing too, you wanna get the face a little bit closer, than the body, than the midsection. So it's always a little bit of leaning. So lean in this way a little bit. Yeah chin down just a touch. Now boom goes the dynamite. Exactly, perfect. And let's bring in the reflection a little bit. So that's a little bit more relaxed. Perfect. I think we're good. (camera clicks) perfect yeah, exactly, right chin down a little. There you go. Perfect yeah alright I dig that cool. Alright so let's have you pop up for a second. Alright. Get these out of the way. So I want you to stand roughly right here. Just don't go past this barrier 'cause this is gonna get you a little too hot on the line, you know. Alright perfect. So turn this way just a little bit. Good alright. Yeah, you see what I mean like if you just kinda let people stand, he just kinda posed himself into kind of the captain almost but I dig it. Not exactly what's in the book but it's not bad at all. So let's go ahead and you can do hands in the pocket to relax a little bit. There you go, all the way. Actually, you know what, you look good doing that. Let's try that first. Stick your butt back towards the wall just a little bit. There you go. Perfect. It's looking good. You know what. I'm gonna go ahead and put the hands all the way in your pockets, I think that looks better. Perfect. There we go. Lean it in at the waist a little bit. Don't bend forward on to your feet. Bow a little bit at the waist, just a touch. (laughing softly) yes. A bow of respect. There we go. A little more fill from this. I think we're good to go. There it is perfect, okay. Am I funny? Sometimes. (laughs) Good, perfect nice casual pose. Great, relaxed, I really love that. Okay you're done for now. Thanks man. You're a good sport, alright. Thank you. Don't trip over anything. (audience laughing) Careful. Here we go, try on that. Almost, don't sit on it. 'cause you're a little, you're short enough to where I think we could do. Nah, don't. Just relax, put your hand up. Get your arm in front of your body a little bit more. Like that. Now take, I want you turn in towards me this way. Perfect and then bring the hand across the front of you a little bit like that. Yeah get your mid section a little closer to me. Perfect yeah there we go. Perfect, there we go. Alright, move my lights a little bit. Alright there we go. Let's get that back light turned towards you a little bit. There we go. Alright so turn your body a little more this way and bend your knee across your touch and turn your head back into the light a little bit, chin down. Nice and relaxed, loosen up those shoulders, perfect. There we go, boom. Perfect, I'm gonna get a little more fill. Good. Turn your head into that light. Not so much, back this way a little bit. Tilt a touch that way. Alright. Here we go, hi. Hello. How's it going? It's good. (laughs) Thank you. Are you mean mugging me right now? (camera clicks) (laughs) And turn in the light a little bit more. There you go, perfect. (laughs) You know, I'd be sick of me too after two days. I don't know how my wife does it. Bring your thumb into your pocket just a little bit like the pants pocket, pocket of your jeans. Yeah let that arm relax, cool yeah like that. Relax the elbow just a little bit, perfect. Turn into that light. There you go, bam. There we go. Boom boom and (camera clicks) breath. (exhaling) There we go, yoga. Now I want you shove your booty back a little bit. There you go perfect. Turn your head into the light just, there yeah, that's it. I like that. You look like you have a secret. (laughs) Okay, that's all. Let's do another one. (laughs) I do have a secret. Okay don't we all? Alright. Go ahead and pop up onto that. Perfect, scoot all the way back into the seat a little bit. Perfect. I'm gonna even have you put just the one, perfect. I want you to lean your arms almost forward on the inside of your knees a little bit like like this in between, yeah like this. Go like that, perfect. And turn your head this way a touch, bring your chin down, there you go. Just a little bend in the arms just to pull 'em back just a little bit yeah, perfect. Yeah you got it. You look like Batman perched on a building. (laughs) But in a good way. Turn your head (laughs) a little over. Da na na na na na beautiful. I absolutely love it. Let's get in a little closer. Let's do some cool one. What's that? Bat girl sorry. Bat woman, bat lady. Two, three. Very cool, digging it, okay love that. Let's go to our next victim. You're out. Oh, don't fall. Good job thank you. Beautiful. Yeah Cliff, let's rock and roll dude. Watch your step sir. Alright nice to have you here. Beautiful, you look great. Oh thanks. Yeah oh stop it, oh stop it. Okay cool. (audience laughing) alright, we're gonna do is get you to do a little bit of the captain. Let's have a little, you know, relax just so. Yeah, you alright? Hands in the pocket or? Turn your body a little bit this way and just rest them on your, pull your jacket open. Yeah there we go, perfect. So almost, I want you to mirror me. Just one hand. There you go, you may get a little higher. There you go perfect. Nice and relaxed just boom put that wrist on your arm. Down a little bit. We're gonna lean even forward onto it. Yeah that's perfect, alright. And pull this up and put your kind of thumb into your jean pocket. There you go. Dude, digging that. Look at him. He's got a little bit of the captain in him, clearly. I'm gonna have a little captain in me later. (audience laughs softly) (laughs) We got problems Cliff. I want you to turn your head into the light for me. I think I'm gonna move these lights back a little bit. Alright. What I'm doing is I'm bringing the lights back 'cause if they're too close, I'm not gonna get the ratio that I want which is pretty even, pretty relaxed okay. Alright turn your head into the light just a touch right there. Bob Dole that hand a little bit. There you go, perfect, alright. Good. Okay cool. Focusing, turn your head just a little bit this way. (camera clicks) Yeah I'm gonna up the ISO a touch, a little dark. There it is, okay. And I wanna move into you. Okay. Ready? Give me sexy. (camera clicks) (growls) Those days are gone. (laughs) Dude, don't you have a motorcycle? Motorcycles are sexy. That's pretty good stuff. Turn your head into the light a little bit for me Cliff. I want you to look into my eyes. Yes. (laughs) Awesome, okay let's do another look. That's awesome. Alright have a seat there if you would please. And face the light a little bit. Gonna bring this around in front of you so. There you go. Yeah perfect alright. Yeah just so. Digging that. Take these back a little bit so I'll pull this back just kinda, so it's blocking but it's also nice and sleek. Show the cool, a good waist line. Let's rock that out. What I want you to do is I want you to shift your weight to this butt cheek. There you go, perfect and turn your head a little bit that way. There we go. You know the thing is your shoulders are big without a jacket and now you're shoulders are positively strapping. (laughs) (camera clicks) Awesome, love it. Good, let me back up just a touch. Go lower, awesome. Perfect, okay take a breath. Give me a nice relaxed one, kind of a cool confidence. There we go, cool. Yeah digging it and lean in this way just a touch. Yeah yeah just so, good. Turn your head a little bit like this. (camera clicks) Bam, looking good. You looked surprised. (laughs) Perfect, alright, I love it good. Alright Cliff have a seat, relax brother. High five. Next, alright who's, that was a terrible. We messed that one pretty bad. (audience laughing softly) Okay Carol, are you ready? Okay I want you to go ahead and stand kind of behind the stool this way. And you're gonna bring your upper body just a little bit back this way. Just rest your hand like this on the stool just like that. Rest it a little, yeah perfect yeah. Good. Ooh there you go beautiful. And contour this arm a little bit to your waist just a little bit and bring it around the side of you. And by down just a little bit. Alright. I can move the lights in. You take up less space than Cliff. Alright. So I'm just gonna move the hair off your neck if that's alright. I always ask before I touch someone especially the ladies 'cause one of the things that people really don't like in pictures especially the ladies with the long hair is when it's all stuck to their neck and it looks like a mess so keep an eye out for that. One of those things to keep an eye on. You're good? Mmm hm. (laughs) It's not like thousands of people are watching you right now. (laughs) Not at all okay. We're a little hot which means we need to feather a little more. Boom. We also have why we use the ISO to make the exposure is because for example if you look at Carol, she's a lot more fair than Cliff is and so that exposure, I'll hae to adjust for her and him since she's a lot hotter than him. And by that I mean in both senses. (audience laughing) But you can adjust the ISO without affecting the depth of field of the image. You change exposure so don't use your aperture in this situation when you have to have all of the images match. Changing your aperture is gonna change your depth of field which might change the look of the image. It's easier to adjust the ISO. I'm gonna raise this up a little bit. Boom yeah perfect. And just bring your hand out a little bit so I see the side that way. This way, this way. I'm sorry you don't move. Put your hand that way, yeah perfect. Just resting that hand there, perfect. You got it. Alright. How serious are you about Kambucha? (laughing) Are you in sales for Kambucha people? Perfect, that's beautiful Carol. Thank you, two, three. Feel your breath. Relax, tilt this way, straighten up that back a little bit and then tilt your head that way. Yeah nice, beautiful. A little less, right there. Okay good. Gotta watch that head tilt, that'll get yeah. Give me a little more pop of the knee across. There you go, beautiful. Two and three. Cool I like that. And now we're gonna change it up. (humming) And I still have my comic stuff stuck in my head. I'm dying. Alright have a seat on there. I want you to point your knees kind of at the reflector. Good alright put your right foot down. And your left foot up, good. I want you to lean your upper body. If grab your wrist and pull yourself over this way a little bit. Perfect, that's great. And then now slide your left hand back to about there, even less, like right there. Perfect and bring that elbow into your body. Good, tilt your head this way, bring your chin down a touch, turn your head into the light. Here we go. Boom (camera clicks). Okay that's looking pretty good. Need to feather it a little bit 'cause we're getting a little too hot on the one side of the face. Okay. Here we go. Get in the way. Alright tilt that way. Turn your head this way. Straighten that back and pretend I'm pulling on your left arm okay. Your right arm, this way, lean over me. Pull pull pull, yeah right there. That's it. Lean in, lean in, lean in. Turn your head back that way. Yeah, you got it. Perfect, okay. You're good? We're almost done. (laughs) Turn in to the light a little bit. Alright you ready? Mm hmm. Rawwr. (laughs) Turn into that light just a touch. (laughs) It's not, when you make somebody laugh, it's not like the crack up that you want. It's the shot after the crack up. When they're still kind of glowing from laughing. Does that make sense? So you don't necessarily, nobody looks good like this. (audience laughing) But if you, so think about it and then you go, you're still kind of glowing a little bit from the laughter and that's really the expression you wanna go for. Alright turn this way a little bit. I'm gonna pull that right arm down. Good right there, perfect. But you can laugh at me if you want to. (laughs) One more ready? Tilt this way a little bit. That way, yeah go. Breath, turn your head. Right there (camera clicks) beautiful. Alright I cut your head off (laughing) but we'll take it. (laughing)

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Ten Tips for Professional Portraits
SEO Workbook
Posing Guide
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


Gary is super knowledgable, yet down-to-earth and relatable. I love how he explains the exact gear he uses but also describes ways to accomplish the same look using DIY and less expensive alternatives. The segment where he demos a live shoot in multiple, difficult lighting situations is worth the cost of the class alone! Bonus: He's super funny. He could probably double as a comedian on the side, but I digress. This class was informative, funny, and very practical for any photographer that wants to increase their profit and expand their business into the professional world. He gives all his prices and workflows so you can get up and running in 2 days! :) Awesome class overall, and it's a great sequel to his professional headshot class (which I also bought and loved.)

Richard Blenkinsopp

I love Gary's straight teaching style, and appreciate him demonstrating with regular people, not models. This is the real life of a regular photographer! I wish Creative Live could show more from the photographers viewpoint, so that when he's posing and moving lights etc, we see exactly what he's changing, and can analyze why... not sure how they'd achieve this in a live environment though. Loved his going around to less than ideal locations and finding the place that works. My favourite course on Creative Live so far.


Gary makes taking editorial portraits look simple and fun. I want to start shooting heads! I love Creative live and Gary is really doing a great job. I got to buy the class next. Thank you.

Student Work