Five Types of Headshots


Commercial and Iconic Headshots


Lesson Info

Five Types of Headshots

There's five types of headshots commercial theatrical corporate, an executive glamour pageant, headshots and pageant industries like a fifteen billion dollar business that runs all over the united states. And once you get your beauty makeup and lighting down and you get a real style with that, you could make a lot of money. They'll be knocking the door down besides thes commercial and theatrical headshots and the glamour pageant headshot thing is going to let you have a little more fun if you like toe light things and your iconic portrait ce and head shots are when you have somebody that's interested in being a music artist or their comedian or they're serious actor that's been doing it for a while, has a few commercials and wants to step outside their comfort zone or that person that you've met that's like an amazing painter that has a story being written about him in a magazine, these air when you want to make a statement about someone. So this is when you want to be able to pull all...

these tricks out with all these different types of lighting that you can use, you could have people pose a little differently and do some more unusual things most actors want to head shots. They can usually afford one in the beginning on then they're going to come back if you do a good job if you run him like a hamster through a treadmill in an out in thirty minutes they're not coming back if you spend an hour hour and twenty minutes with him and make an impact there coming back only this time they're going to come back and they're gonna want to head shots from you or three most people need to give their agents two or three to put on a website so that they can show all the different kinds of personalities and there's many pictures that they could give the more opportunities they're gonna have so for a guy you want to try to make him look rough and scary you want to make him look sexy want to make him look like a dad you want to make him look like the abercrombie model you want to make him look like the guy next door that could be in a cocotte so if you can think like that that bring some sort of momentum to it so two head shots smiling theatrical headshots air not smiling usually they're a little more interesting they can't even get kind of tough rough you know edgy most of the women that I should want to be as pretty as they can and I actually have to reel it back a little bit so your commercial had shot needs to look mostly like the girl there the red hair light on the makeup but the eyes need to pop they could have tank top on solid sure sleeves are usually in or a tank top and the tank top transcends to be running through the whole united states and little to no makeup but I guarantee you if you shoot with no makeup, you're going to be asking to be re shooting so you want to get it right and make it right every time he would send him out the door with fifty pictures that air killer with twenty that are just awesome and help him pick if you can glamour is going to take you outside of that this is more like something you'd see in instyle magazine this is somebody that crosses over into a glamorous person usually the shot on the left on the bottom there was done with complete totally natural light not even a reflector and these were all lit with different types of speed light lighting and I'm going to share with you in just a moment and the corporate head shots that ideo most of what I got now at this age is I get commercial headshots, theatrical headshots, corporate head shots for law firms, doctor's offices, big companies of doing annual reports and I'll have to shoot sixty people those happened a couple times a year but those are the good ones those are the ones that really make you a decent amount of money because guess what happens to all those people if you connect with them on the set, they're going to call you for other things, so you want to take your book? You want to take all your stuff when you go to this office because that's where the money as people want to spend money on crew, good things. If you show a great job at work, what about my family portrait? Every single time I've shot in an environment like that, people have asked me to do other things, so make the best of it. Every job you shoot brings the next round to the business for you and iconic head shots to me are usually things that have kind of a fashion pole to them. You could get more stylized with the background and have fun with it. These were both the one on your rights, all natural light and on the same set to the left, I'm using the big octus off box to fill it started raining on us and we were underneath a barn outside so we could have access to all the chickens and the signs and everything that you're saying here, so the overall look of your commercial headshot needs to be clean and shiny. Brightened smiley you might shoot some on that siri's let's say you shot seventy five pictures on the person when they come in the door you want to shoot them with a beautiful expression on their face teeth showing not to showing with a full range of communication from their eyes you can stand in one place but you can sit or stand them and you want to show all the different angles of their face you want to find that best magic picture and show it to them your theatre had shot more edgy usually darker black is a safe go to color for you to wear brown navy blue chocolate dark green anything that's going to be a little sultry little darker for men and women and flattering to the body that one can be slightly sexy but not quite as sexy is the glamour picture so the ultimate goal of you shooting with your actor our actor actor is a word now that is for men and women they need to look confident sexy but even with a smile on their face so never let that waver from what you're goal is perceiving what they need they need to be perceived as many different personalities as they can afford to be perceived down as well so I have this happens to me now I changed my whole pricing I used to do one head shot because I thought most people only needed one head shot now I shoot to re for three options and four options and they almost always do the three and four options because they want to see if they can get the work and they realized they could save money but shooting several so it then it kind of gets along the lines of senior portrait session four hours or so of shooting on dh then you want to make sure that whatever you do to their hair, their makeup and the style of what they look like they could possibly reproduce it on their own because the worst thing that can happen to the actors they go to the audition and there sits there picture and you've made them look like you know the most amazing thing ever and they can even begin to brush their hair that way or were the clothes that you put the man so you gotta have some sense of honesty is the best wack and to put it when you're talking to the people that you're dressing and you're planning their clothes and stuff like that you want to bring a sense of reality into what they ca nation handle especially the styling of the hair that happens that's the hardest part women because women love to have their here finished and you can't always get it blown dry smooth like they can do it there for you and your set overall for your headshots needs to be simple could be textured layers of shadows layers of architectural elements of await flowers and trees if you can keep from it unless it's somebody trying to look like you know the modern day housewife for something she's you know out in the garden like martha stewart or something of a wade set ups that looked like a studio unless it disappears into some other thing I'm going to show you a bunch of really cool backgrounds were made from photographs that you can use in your studio easily store away and work in this very small space and feel like you left that space to go somewhere else and that's important for you to have if you in vancouver he and here in and what portland it rains a lot so you wanna wanna have things that we're gonna keep you fluid money making to set up and you could say I've got some great wonderful backgrounds get an idea what they want where have several options so you have somewhere to go you want to be able to book several of these headshots at one time when people call you individually when you get in a role and just crank those things out one day have fun with it the head of the theatrical headshot can also have something going on in the background if you have nothing can't afford a background he's black paper dark gray paper get a way far away from it though never leaning right against it when you cropped head shots and the camera angle most important thing you could do is crop somebody on the narrowest point of their body because visually that I needs to see a vanishing point so you would never crop me right here you would cross me here because it's the narrowest you never want to stand anyone straight on to the camera and shoot them like this you always wanna have a little angle because you're half the size sideways you are straight on straight on arms crossed his confrontational and strong and sexy for body language so anytime you want to soften up and relax, turn him to the side have blamed on something but not to this point so your crop is either above or below this line usually on everyone if you're shooting suits on men, the suit needs to pull tight around the neck and no space in the collar and everything laying flat. I usually have the person actually hold the jacket in the shirt and pull down like this when I'm shooting smooth all the way down so my ai f stops usually around five, six or eight unless I want to see a lot more of what's going on in the background, which I usually don't the longer the lens, the more I could break up the background if I kept myself into a situation where I can't stand where I have to shoot we've all had that happen we have to shoot those portrait's at the office we can't leave the office where we going to go so you if you pull out your longer lands you can usually distort enough of the background shoot little more wide open let that fall off most men shoot headshots standing up and if I'm in front of camera and he's taking my picture he's going to be looking down at me so the lens level needs to be straight into the eyes so if you're going to shoot your subject's standing and you're six foot four you need to sit on the stool so the lens level gets into the odds everything about where the photographer is is to compliment the subject and you want to emphasize if let's say somebody has enormous beautiful lips you might want to lower down to the lips but primarily you're meeting with eyes most of that this is just general information for you to know which is I think kind of cool head shots are usually still printed in an eight by ten for matt with their name on the bottom you can print off your own eight by tens with your resume on the back at home so once they get the shots created they want tohave on internet version that they can email out nobody knows howto handle their files no one knows howto handle their files but you're gonna want them to so when they when you give them the files, show them how to email them, show them how to store them duplicate and back him up and all of that so this person can they're going to send the pictures everywhere, trying to get jobs, so the best thing you can do is be there contact for a minute, but just like any other addiction you've just gonna have to like, say enough after you get them riding on their own are they'll call you every time they have to send an email. I'm serious it's just the way it is, but that's part of being a good person, show him, teach him, get them cur, encouraged to do it on their own and then step away. So on a contact their bio sheet, they need to have their name and their resume contact information and agents name isto have won a lot of people multi list with agents, and they're going to ask you what you think about that it's generally not thought of this the right thing to do any more unless you do it in different cities. And thie ella agents now I I asked my good friend michael star third, who he owned arlene wilson models told me that now in l a your they're using a barcode in a scan to take in your information, your photo and your contact information so you don't even really have to have that printed cheat, but they they still have to carry it around. So I suggest that they print up fifty to one hundred and no more than that, because in the beginning they may be asked to change their hair again. So you'll you'll see a couple of people come to you, they will ask for your headshots and then hair maybe too long for their age range, and then all of a sudden I realized, oh, I could work more if my hair was at this light. Maybe I need to let my hair turn gray, or maybe you'll you'll hear a lot of that shot sheet with a beard, and not sometimes you'll see ethnic girls come and want to change the whole look of their hair through wigs or straight or curly or whatever if they can afford to do it. I suggested, you know, the more pictures they have obviously, the better. So one, eight hundred casting is a really good place for them to sign up, find out about castings, those same casting informations go to the agents it's also a good place for you to learn. If you think you really want to get into this it's a great way to make a living in new york and l a you can make us much as fifteen hundred dollars a day shooting head shots if you are famous you can make his little as one hundred fifty dollars if you're not if you're shooting on the low end you're going to be shooting hundreds of headshots and one every hour to just try to get by so you want to try to make it impact on ly show great things try to shoot the famous people if you can and build your book that way and get out and get in front of people natural light no surface where do you go if you have nothing with you can't afford anything you just bought a camera that's all you have try to find a shot or a place that exist in beautiful light learn where your light iss knowing natural light falling on the subject you to the back if you can't control the quality of light falling on the subject find some beautiful shade this picture was taken in the middle of the day I opened up the garage that are on the stool the driveway was filling in her face with the bright sun so you have to be a look and make these assessments very quickly you don't need to tell them I don't have a reflector and I don't know anything much about light but the first light you need to know was open shade in natural light and phil same thing here all natural light in the shade the shot on the left she was a squint er I put the sun in her back and used a whiteboard my assistant was holding it this way thirty inches square and I shot with my camera right on the shoulder and she has this beautiful flute flatlined on her face and she would open her eyes and actually look at me then on top of that you're a beautiful little hair light that happens naturally the shot here on the center on the bottom that's actually for an advertising campaign I'm using a shiny board to fill the face in there from a high angle far away trying to knock the shadows into the right place as they fall around the glasses and the shot on the right is incomplete open shade deep open shade where it's really dark in around terror and if phil cards they're all out in the sun moving the light around sometimes you want the light to fall off to background sometimes you want it to be higher key all of that to me conveys a mood as well it's what you're askin the subject today contrast is always good light in the eyes brings life to the eyes when you're holding the reflector up there and you see somebody's obviously in pain be aware of that take down you know have it ready click click click take the reflector now make sure you're working with somebody that understands that and how it feels maybe a good idea to put them in that environment so they can feel the pain of that because it can be painful at times what you're looking at here too or just several really really soft lighting situations the one here on the rights of silver the one in the wide is the big scream jim on the white side and the one there on the left is a silver but from really far away and when you crossing over from the glamour head shots one of the things that's kind of important to dio I'm revisiting this because I wanted you to see how the quality of light changes in each one of these shots. The shots on the left I said was on the with the driveway at the top is a field cart in the bright sun putting light as it falls naturally the two shots here on the right you almost can't tell the difference the one on the left is in the studio with an eighty four inch umbrella and one speed light and the one here on the right is done with my cake can trife lecter folded here with the ice lights to fill in and give that glow on the skin the difference between the two shots here on the right and the left is that I've asked the makeup artist to give me a real do we finish on a foundation one of shane glamour and beauty I asked for that in the makeup because you want the girl to look warm and glowy it's part of the mood of it so the makeup can contrast there the eye makeup can come up to to a kick and a much more sexy soft darker look for evening type makeup so here's some of those same setups just so you can get an idea of where things are you've got your umbrella with your fill card underneath and then the ice lights made into a little box I used to light stands and four ponytail holders to make the little beauty box the ice lights last for about an hour so full power they have a rheostat on the sides you could tone it down if you need less or more but the light I can achieve the same look with two or four but for us the ultimate to me in the beauty here on the right I've got tio speed lights set up using the south boxes made from the robes to to get sort of cool a beauty light side by side and hears that all in action here on the right I've got the scream gym set up in my speed lights behind it facing toward the subject so I've now taken at made into a giant soft box and a high speed excuse me, westcott scream jim is standing up on two stands behind me, and I'm literally touching it and the speed lights air here behind me, making this beautiful flat light on the right. I've got a third speed light sitting on the ground behind the are in shirt, they're pointing up to the background with a grid to just give a little texture back there on the shot on the left is simply the eighty four inch umbrella, and I've kind of had it positioned off to the side. In some cases, if the structure of the face can handle it, I'll move away from a clamshell set up and do the the main light or the key light slightly to the side. Sometimes on a more a serious actress, I could give a little more drama than just a pretty light of the commercial light on dh it gets a little more into a fashion feel, but yet it still she looks like the serious actor to may and the shot here on the bottom I'm going to start their first is the scream jim with the speed light in the back. This afternoon and tomorrow I'm going to start out with light from behind the subject and how to create an ambience when there really isn't one by creating a higher key feel by using your scrim as a background shooting like through it and then the fill in the front you can do that on the outside as well, you don't have to just do that in the studio and these three elements are three good examples of how I would like for a glamour head shot. The shot on your right again was the umbrella on the left is to apollo orbs excuse me to apollo strip banks and a clamshell format pointing directly up and down and I lived just enough space in there from my lands to fit through and usually when I'm talking to the subject after put my head around, you can't see me once the flash fires the only downside to working with e speed license there is no modeling light, so you're going to want to have a little bit of studio light on in your studio so you can see well and the feeling is really nice since they can't see themselves in the modeling light or feel that light you want to show them pictures pretty soon or shows something on the computer so they could get an idea of what they're doing I'm using a fan and the shot on the left and just enough to kick the hair out because it adds a little bit of emotion or ambition into her or intent into her pose or her expression. And the shot in the center is a beauty too straight above the head with a grid in the back and she's almost right on top of her background. I usually don't put a lot in the background like that, but this particular model is she's lives in hollywood and has done a lot of movies and was considered somewhat of a beauty, and she had come to me after doing, you know, the serious office looking shot first, and this was her more glamorous version of what she wanted to do next, so you'll get those people they'll come back again and again. I have one lady that works with me, and she suits with me every two months because she feels like the more she puts out there, the more she gets out of it, it gives her a chance to keep connecting with her agent gives her a chance to keep re assigning new looks for herself and on her own. We have a great relationship now, so we'll talk about how have little meetings about how we can change what she's coming across like? How can we make her hair look different? How can we might add something to it? It wasn't being shown before, so that in itself makes it for a lot more fun to work with. So I wanted to show you just a little bit touching a little bit about coloration, the stylization, although I'm not going to actually go into a lot of retouching in this class, but because it's mostly about lighting this particular instead of images, I've done a little tweaking to the color and of d saturated them a little bit and it's gone in a slight black and white direction once the person is established and they are known like they've gone on auditions and people know who they are, you can start to do a little bit of creativity with it. The edge is on the right would probably be too much, but the one on the left is not so what they'll end up getting from this is other kinds of movies that they would never be cast for if they didn't have the images to prove they could cross over into that look, people have a tendency, tio judge you by the package you present, so if you only show in one dimension of yourself, that's pretty much where you're going to go, some people will find themselves through all these changes in the way you make them look as they change their hair their color being shot with him without a beard or a goatee this guy he's absolutely amazing and every time I shoot him his face is different in my camera and when we finished way planned the whole outfit that you're seeing there for the shot to start with my whole goal was to shoot him is this where western character but as he as I started to see the images in the camorra is like what if we d saturated color completely to black and white look what a different angle we have there even though black and white pictures are kind of out in the acting industry once they saw this they entreat him to doom or so that helps as long as they're talking about you at the agency's modelling acting all of that then your name is on the front burner so you want to keep beautiful photographs in front of people for them to look at to give you expression and this is an extreme example of me taking my glamour and playboy lining and bring it into an advertising universe. This was for an album cover for a singer named jennifer holliday and she was doing I've show in this big theatre in atlanta and it would have been my dream to shoot in this theater and of course my assistant liked him and he said oh jeez where am I gonna have to light oh, no, because it was pitch black. When we walked in here, we had to completely light it the best we could to bring it together. The ceiling of this house stars twinkling in it and it looks like a castle all the way around. So we picked a spot so we could get we turned on all the houselights to see what we could work with. So as I said in the beginning, looked for the quality light, even on a natural headshot. Where is that? Like, what color is it? What kind of light is it? How can I work with it? So the first thing I did was start working with my eyes so so I could see where I could get a decent exposure in the room that wouldn't destroy the quality of the image of my five mark three I could go to twenty five thousand if I want. I think I ended up shooting this in about twelve thousand five hundred somewhere and there and there is a siri's of lights. I shot her full length, three quarter and head shot and that's what I do with a celebrity version of a headshot. So and these pictures, almost every celebrity from the time I've lived in new york to current want incredible beauty shots. Making use of themselves in a variety of magazines album covers things like that then you need to pull back and give him a three quarter so simply writes about them you have that covered and while you're at it you might as well ship with the full length so that's how it all begins for may then they'll call me back and asked me to do it again and again so in this particular place she brought me several outfits we spent maybe six months trying to find just the right dress just the right situation what was going to make the impact and she was concerned that she's my age and wanted to look the best she could look at this point her life and we're like okay we finally rolled around we shot her in four different dresses and rolled around to this purple dress and it was just the magic picture with the magic location so you have to be open sometimes to see what's going on so I went to this location a week and a half before looked at it judge the light check the I s o took a couple of pictures left I had to find out where I could plug everything in brought a number of battery operated light so I could help fill in the back so all of the color your singing on the stage behind her some of it existed in some of it I added then I brought my classic playboy lining and pulled it right out to her so that none of that light fill over spillover into this set itself, so constructed an exposure that was about all of those things together balancing out that light, so every now and then you're gonna have to wrap up something really moody and you're going to want to start controlling down the light, minimizing where that light spills over instead of going to the total natural light, higher key, sweet, fresh face you're going to want to get into something dark and moody, so using a light that has a fall off that can happen pretty quickly like a lady or a continuous flow light like a cannon, kino flo are the studio lights from bowen's can let you do that there's a wonderful luminescence aboutthe light in these particular situation, I had two lights, one on him and one on the background. I was using the barn doors to help me create some sort of an obvious back there when we were literally work get in the studio, sometimes there's not enough time for you to get out and make that impact, so now I'm going to show you just a siri's of shots and just quickly talk to you about how I've done all of these these all three all six of these, our album covers that I've done and the people had little to no budget for the background of the set and I created everything you see and some of it I've used it and re used it again your classic shot in the center there I've shown you basically how to do that with your natural light set up only that's done with the octus off box creating foreground middle ground in an interesting background that all ties together is going to be the key even when you shoot a commercial headshot or an iconic one knowing the right light for the right subject the shots on the left a little bit harder version using some grids on top of my beauty light to help me create contrast and shadow that falls nicely on the face and having an edge that they were looking for the shot down here on the right is all natural light I took a big piece of foam core and covered it with white felt and just stuck those little butterflies around her and I had enough to make a small space and then I made the rest happen with my photo shop it created this ambience for her and there's another set of similar feeling things the shot on top right is natural light and using mirrors and reflectors to help fill in the face the top left is my playboy style lining and demonstrate to you with multiple lights on one subject and the center there on the bottom is a wraparound beauty light when you're shooting a silhouette, we're going to show you how to do a silhouette today and then I'm going to show you just about how much light needs to come from the background actually feel it on the subject's face sometimes you're gonna want to see it and sometimes you're not when you get into the iconic edge of the head shots you can take on something a little interesting tricks with the lights that you can't get away with in the commercial headshot so start it simple and then build to the edge is basically where we want to go and as you get the edge of your subject that means you can do eh jigger things my friend here on the bottom eimear came to me a couple of years ago with that haircut it was like we have to shoot that we just absolutely have to shoot that and music notes and everything all around his head so I love to shoot people like that whenever I can because it pushes me outside of my comfort zone of making everybody look so pretty so you want to find people to shoot and make a body of work that resonates with those in separate them into groups and show those pictures to the right people at the right time and you will get the work that you're looking for

Class Description

Ready to add a new, lucrative dimension to your photography business? Join creativeLIVE instructor Lou Freeman to learn everything you need to know to take controlled, candid, and commercial portraits and headshots.

The skills you learn throughout this workshop can be applied to iconic portraits, pageant and glamour shots, headshots and other commercial photos, and beyond. You’ll learn about the industry standards for each type of portrait, including how to work professionally with a wide variety of clients. Lou will guide you through determining the unique goal of each shoot and developing a plan for giving clients the results they want. As Lou takes portraits live in-studio, she’ll share foolproof lighting and posing strategies. You’ll also build strategies for marketing and pitching to clients.

By the end of this course, you’ll have the artistic skills to take classic, iconic portraits and the marketing skills to attract clients who’ll drive your business.


Kent Youngblood

Really enjoyed the class and thought Lou did a great job explaining her process with headshots. I've used her headshot approach with natural light on numerous occasions and came up with stunning shots.