Skip to main content

Constant Light: Low Key Classic Headshot with Male Model

Lesson 22 from: The Business of Professional Headshots

Gary Hughes

Constant Light: Low Key Classic Headshot with Male Model

Lesson 22 from: The Business of Professional Headshots

Gary Hughes

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

22. Constant Light: Low Key Classic Headshot with Male Model


Class Trailer

Class Overview


Getting Headshot Clients


Headshot Pricing Models for Individuals


Headshot Pricing Models for Groups and Companies


Payment and Delivery for Groups


Six Styles of Business Headshots


Headshot Lighting Gear


Posing Basics for Headshots


Basic Standing Pose for Headshots


Basic Seated Pose for Headshots


Head Position for Headshots


Expression Sells the Image


One-Light High Key Headshot with Male Model


One-Light High Key Headshot with Female Model


Two-Light High Key Headshot with Male Model


Two-Light High Key Headshot with Female Model


Two-Light Standing Pose Headshot with Male Model


Two-Light Standing Pose Headshot with Female Model


One Light Low Key Headshot with Male Model


Two Light Low Key Headshot with Female Model


General Q&A


Constant Light: Low Key Classic Headshot with Male Model


Constant Light: Low Key Classic Headshot with Female Model


Constant Light: Standing Pose Headshot with Male Model


Constant Light: Standing Pose Headshot with Female Model


Setting up the Background for Extraction Shoot


Shooting for Extraction Headshot with Male Model


Shooting for Extraction Headshot with Female Model


Shooting Low Key Modern Headshots for Extraction


Basic Headshot Facial Retouching Techniques


Basic Headshot Eye Retouching Techniques


Basic Headshot Retouching Techniques: Dodge and Burn


Basic Headshot Retouching Q&A


Extracting a Single Subject


Creating a Headshot Composite


F-Type Headshot Lighting: Equipment and Principle


F-Type Headshot Lighting: Execution


Shooting Headshots in Volume


Lesson Info

Constant Light: Low Key Classic Headshot with Male Model

Today is gonna be a little bit different. Yesterday we went very low intensity on the amount of gear. And so this is gonna be a little more of a bar of entry, getting into this type of work. But because I shoot in a studio, I have a studio that's separate from my home, a brick and mortar place, and I do a lot of work in there. And so we're gonna start today, by showing you the thing I use the most, for my headshots and how it's made my job and my life quite a bit easier. And one of the things I really like to do, is even though we're using more gear that we did yesterday, it's to make it as simple as possible. And so one of the things that makes it simple for me, is taking wireless triggers out of the equation, taking equipment out of the equation that could complicate a photo shoot. I mean if they made something that was just completely wireless, and I had to have nothing in my studio, then I would do that. But we always have to use this gear. So we've got it right behind me, this rea...

lly cool setup. These are all hybrid constant lights from SweetLight Systems. And these are what I actually use in my studio. Although, they were nice enough to provide these for us for the class today, which is really cool. The thing about these lights, they have an internal fluorescent lights that are constant. And you can shoot with these, and they're fantastic. They also have a back plate, which allows you to attach a strobe to them. So when you do run into a circumstance where you're gonna need to use a strobe. For example, when you shoot for extraction, you're gonna want to use strobes. You have to shoot it pretty much at F11, F16, somewhere like that, to make sure it's really, really sharp all the way from front to back. And in that case, you would need to switch to your strobes. And so these are actually fitted for my Alien Bees, which I use in the studio. And so when I need to switch over, from constant to strobes, I just clip my Alien Bee on the back, as you can see, they are up here. The first thing I want to do, is to show you guys some of the cool, low-key stuff, like we did yesterday, using these constant lights. Now, you might have to bear with us a little bit, because it's really gonna be a little darker than normal, because we're gonna switch over to, just kind of using these. And so, because they aren't as bright as a strobe, per se, you're only really gonna be able to use these effectively, the constant light part, in a situation where you don't have a lot interference from lights. You couldn't take these outside and shoot with these, because you wouldn't even be able to see what affect they had, as compared to daylight. But if you were in a studio situation, where you can control the lighting, and you can bring it all the way down, that's when these come in to play. And the best thing about these, is you can see exactly what you're getting. There's no guesswork, like you pop the strobe and oh, no, I've gotta move a light. And then you test again and move a light. You see whatever you're looking at, is exactly what you get. And a lot of times, I end up using these things just like window light. Just stick it in the corner of a room, and use it like a window, it's really versatile. So we're gonna start out, doing some basic, business headshot stuff, with this low key. And bear with me when I change the setup, because this boom arm is like 7,000 pounds, and it's gonna take me a minute to move it without killing anyone. So just bear with me, when I do that. So let's bring up, our first beautiful person, Oscar, why don't you come up here man. Everybody clap Oscar in, Whew! (clapping) Remember from yesterday, how you doing buddy? Alright, he's our model today. We're gonna bring him right in here. And I'm gonna start with seated, okay. So before we cut the lights, and start to show you exactly how I use these bad boys. I'm gonna use this little apple box here. (clicking of light switches) I want to talk about constructing using multiple lights. One of the things I see people do that's a mistake, when they start to use multiple lights in studio, is they set up all the lights, turn everything on and then they start shooting, and try to adjust. When I first started out, the thing that really helped me was you start with one or two lights at a time. And you see what affect that light is having on your image, before you add the next light. Does that make sense? What I want to do, is to sort of make this a lot less mystical, and a lot less complicated. Because we're using the same principles that we used yesterday on all the lighting. We want to have a main light, we want to have fill light and we want to have edge light, that separates our subject from the background. And in these circumstances, I'm gonna start with the edge light. Because this is the light that's gonna be the weakest, it's gonna be the lowest intensity. And so, with these constant lights, they have full power, half power and off, and that's pretty much it. There's no dial to vary that, so you're gonna use it at full, half or off. And then you use the distance and the angle, to adjust where that lights coming from. So there's not a lot of guess work, as to, do I put it at 16th power, a quarter power, half power. It's a lot easier to use when you're getting into it, because as long as you can see it with your eyeball, that's what you're gonna get when you photograph it. Is that cool with everybody? I really love that about these. So the first thing I'll do, is if you face forward for me Oscar, is I'm gonna add my two edge lights. And when I'm shooting a professional headshot, and I can see what the edge lights are doing right now. If I'm looking right at him, I can see that I have a nice line on his shoulders of that dark suit that's separating him from the background. And I have a line up a little bit on the side of his head and his hair. And that's gonna keep him from fading into the background, with that dark hair, on that dark jacket. So now, if you turn these lights on, that's gonna become a lot less evident, because these are gonna be so much brighter. So I start by building that... So I'll even just do a test shot with just those lights, so I can see what I'm getting. And here's a cool thing. If you have a camera that can do live view, you can actually live view and setup your shot, when you're shooting with these constant lights. So I'm looking at it right now, and there we go, perfect. So I'm gonna set it up, it's gonna be under-exposed on the face here. But I'm looking at, right there. And I've got exactly what I want, so let's take a shot and we can see what's going on. So you can see that I'm getting a little bit of bleed over from the lights in the studio here. But we're gonna shut those off in a minute. But I can even see with my naked eye, that that light is carving him right out of that background. So, if you wanted to make it more intense, right now I have them at, I think, at full power. Or half power, yeah, there at full power. And I've got these grids on them. And the grids, basically what they do, is light, as we said yesterday, moves in all directions, right? The grids sort of narrow that beam of light. And so, you don't necessarily have to have them, and in fact most of the time, I don't use them. Because a lot of times I using those lights to light the subject and the background at the same time. So if you take those two lights, and you kind of point them at each other, with no grid on them, that light is gonna fall on the subject this way, and it's gonna fall on the background this way. So it's a really cool way, we're gonna do that. I'm gonna show you a really cool way to do high key, using that exact same strategy, if that's cool. But for right now, I want to use those grids, because I only want a little bit of light on him that way. And I want a little bit on the background, but not a lot. Because I want it to be black on that, that's what we're going for. Alright, so let's add in our main lights. And if we can cut the lights down, while we do this. I'll get these going. So this is a three by four, and I really, really like this three by four light source. One, because you see a lot of soft boxes this size are very deep. And this one is shallow, which means it's very, very usable, if you have a small shooting space. Because it's probably, maybe, 16 inches deep. Which is a really, really shallow soft box. Also, the larger the light source, the softer the light. And what I'm going for here, is remember yesterday, we used that soft box that was about 20 inches, and the reflector underneath. Well even at the same distance that we used that, we're gonna use this today. But that much larger light source, is gonna give you a much softer light. So this is a great setup, if you're one of those photographers you really like a little more natural window light, kind of a look to a shoot. But you have a shooting space that maybe doesn't have the window of your dreams, it faces north and you get perfect light all day long. This a terrific alternative to that. And this is why I use it. Because my studio, is in an industrial area, and I have no windows and this is my alternative. So I'm gonna show you how to use this, to do this same look. And I'm also gonna show you how to use it to get that little more modern and casual look, that we did before. So I have this on full power, which I typically do. And I can bring that back. One of the ways you can manage the ratio between your edge lighting and your main lighting, is just turn this one down, and then adjust your camera. So I'm gonna add this on the bottom. Remember we were using a reflector underneath a lot yesterday? This is exactly kind of the same thing. I'm bringing light from underneath. But you want me to show you how to do it with a reflector and with an additional light. This is a really cool way, and I do this a lot in the studio, to get a really neat light. So let's show you before and after of that. We can already see, we've got a little bit of an edge light working there. So let's just do it. View, so I can see my exposure's good, I dig that. Now, I'm gonna go ahead. Oscar, you're doing great man, you just do your thing right there. I'm not directing, this is testing before the shoot. And any shoot with an actual client, I will have this tested before they come in. If I know that this is the style I'm gonna shoot them in, I don't test shoot on my clients, except for one or two shots, just to make sure I've got them lit correctly. Because I light a little bit different, depending on the person. So if you pull up image 7363 on to the screen, you'll be able to see what it looks like with just that main light on top. And we're gonna get a kind of a similar look to what we had yesterday. But with that smaller light source, you've got a much harder shadow under the chin, and it fell off really quickly. Remember how that falls off on the sides. This is gonna be a little more of a wraparound effect. But because of the high positioning of the light, we're still gonna get a dark shadow underneath. So when you can pull that up, that would be great and I'll go ahead and shoot the next one. And yesterday, we were using those super silver reflectors and I do want to make the point, with those reflectors that they are a little less precise, because they just Bam!, they reflect everything. So, as I think Lenna pointed out yesterday, it's okay to use medium silver or a white reflector. You're looking for your look. You don't have to do it exactly the way I do it. But I really like this look, because it's almost as if you're standing in front of a big window. And that's the kind of light that I'm trying to emulate here, is something a little softer, a little more natural. So you'll notice how close I am to the subject. And in many cases, I will shoot even closer, have the subject even closer to the light. And the closer you bring them to the light, the softer it gets. There we go, cool, and let's add that bottom light. So that'll be 7367, and 7366. If you could put those both on the screen, that would be great. So you can see the before and after effect, of adding that light underneath. Now you do run the risk, of something like this making it a little too glamour looking for when you're shooting a male subject. So you can always, well I do this a lot, is I just slide it back a little bit to reduce the effect. And then you're gonna make this catch light brighter than the bottom catch light. If you put too much light in the bottom of the image, coming at the subject, and it starts to overpower the top, you're gonna get that sort of, really kind of weird, ghostly uplighting look, that isn't really flattering on anybody. Okay, so there we go. So if you look at the two image side-by-side, you can see that the first image that we took, you had that dark shadow under the chin, and then you have a little darker under the eyes. And it's not a bad look. In conjunction with, like the nice subtle separation lights that we got around the edges, that's actually a really good look. And you could do it either way. But if you wanted to have a little more latitude, especially in the world of digital photography. I would recommend if you light a little bit more and you can tone it down a little bit later. But you can't, it's harder to go back into something later and make those shadows less present. Do you know what I mean? So we want to just note the difference. And what this does, is especially if you look at the areas under the eyes, under the brow, under the chin, is this is gonna give me a really, really light load, when it comes to retouching. This sort of soft, large, direct light source is gonna make your retouching life a lot easier. And it's gonna make somebody look less old, I guess. It's gonna make, it's gonna flatter people, absolutely! Now again, this is something that I probably wouldn't do, if I had somebody with a wide, round-shaped face. I would want to minimize their features, to sort of flatter them. Because in traditional photographic, sort of theory, you're trying to bring everybody's face to a similar shape. So if you have a nice, big circular face, you're trying to bring that to an oval. And if somebody has a really thin face, you want to broad light it a little more, so that you bring it out to that oval. That's sort of the perfect shape, traditionally. But we do things both ways. So if you're aware of that, then you know what you're shooting for. But this isn't the only way to do it, I'm gonna show you a couple of ways. But I'm pretty happy with that. So now that we've got our light tested, I may even slide this back a little bit more. Because he deserves a little bit of menacing shadow. Alright, cool, alright. So we're gonna have you do this, Oscar, if I can direct you. I'm gonna have you sit up for me, and I want you to bring your knees this way a little bit and your feet over, cool, alright. I want you to lean your upper body towards me this way. Yeah, that's exactly right. See how I went to where I wanted him to go. And I pulled him to me. I've even done this analogy before. I say, "pretend I have a rope attached "to the middle of your chest, and I'm pulling on it". And they go errrr, you know, bring that face to the camera. Alright, put those hands flat on the upper thighs, spread that shoulders out. And now I'm just gonna come fuss over your jacket at little bit. There we go. Now we do have one thing we want to mention here, about the shirt and the jacket. The shirt is very white, and the jacket is very dark. So in an actual situation with the client, just like if I were shooting a wedding, I have to underexpose it a little bit. To keep the detail in the shirt, in order to make this a correct exposure after. Because once you lose those whites, you've lost them. It's digital, remember, it's white, pure white is zero in terms of digital photography. Which means that detail is really tough to get back. So in this case, for the purposes of CreativeLive, I'm gonna shoot what would be a normal exposure for the shadows, so that it appears a little better on the screens. But if I was shooting for a client, I would actually underexpose this by probably half a stop, just to keep the detail in the whites and then bring those shadow details up a little bit later. Do the same thing with weddings. If you're shooting a bride and groom, and it's a bright, sunny day. If you expose for their faces, you're gonna lose all the detail in the dress. Now if you expose for the dress, you can bring those shadow details back later. Are you with me on that? So I just wanted to explain that, about a white shirt versus a black jacket. In fact, if you have control over it, which you should if they're coming into your studio. You should be able to advise your client on wardrobe. Everybody pretty much has a smartphone now, so it's a really easy way to go, "Hey, send me pictures of what you're thinking about bringing". Create a Pinterest board, for really good styles and color combinations, for your clients, and share that with them. That works really, really well. Say, "take a look at this Pinterest board "that I put together for professional head shots. "These are, sort of, the color combinations "that are gonna work good with the style "and the background that we've selected." Don't have anybody come into your studio and not have anything under control. There's no excuse, to not have control over what they bring, that they're wearing. And what background you're gonna use. They should have selected a style that you're gonna shoot. You should know exactly what you're doing before they walk in. It's when somebody comes in, and you don't know what you're gonna do for them until you look at them. That's when you're gonna run into a disconnect in the visual style. So make sure that you prep as much as you possibly can. And again, create a system to do that. It's super easy, to create emails that already have all the wording in them. To create Pinterest boards, that you can send to people. To create information form, that you can gather information from people. They ask them a bunch of questions. To create a style board, to say, these are the styles of head shots that are available, when you come into the studio. Which one of these do you think is gonna be more to your liking? And if you get all that information, then you're not gonna run into any problems in the studio. I had a guy come in, when I first started. And he just comes into the studio with a duffle bag full of balled up clothes. And everything was wrinkled, and everything was like wild patterns and it was really, really terrible. And you'll find that they won't like the photos, and then they'll blame it on you. And that's sucky. (laughs) Because you know you do your job, you know. It's, you want to get to the point, where you're not doing a photo shoot, even though you know that the pictures aren't gonna turn out great, because of something that you had control over stylistically. Cool, alright. So let's take a couple more, let's direct our subject. Okay, I want you to relax the shoulders Oscar, just a little bit, that's perfect. Lean into me just a touch more. Tilt this way, bring that chin down. Cool, we're gonna shoot a little. Yeah, looking good bud. One, and two. Okay, relax that jaw a little bit for me. There you go, perfect. Just lower your chin, just a touch. There we go, perfect. And one more, I'm gonna take one more shot. Cool, okay. So we've got a really cool look going. And it's super, super easy, that you can put this together in just a few minutes. And there's no... Remember what we just did yesterday, and I want to, Slide TV, live broadcast, reiterate what I said yesterday. Choose the settings on the camera, based on how you want your image to look. What do you want the style to be? How deep do you want the depth of feel to be? Are you trying to filter out any available light, that might be hanging around? Don't set up lights, and keep shooting and adjusting your exposure. The way that I shoot, which you don't have to do it this way, but it serves me really, really well. I lock in the aperture and the shutter speed, based on what I want the image to look like. And then I adjust the exposure with my ISO. And I'll always end up between 100 and maybe like 800, for most stuff. In this case, I think I'm at about 800, maybe. 1250, wow, okay. But that doesn't really matter today, with these cameras. Like 1250... My first camera that I shot digitally with was probably the D10, and you couldn't shoot an ISO 400. You know, it just looked terrible. And then I upgraded, I had the 30D, and the 40D, a then the 5D and the 1, 2 and the 3. And as it gets better, especially even the Nikons now are amazing. I mean, you've got cameras, the Sonys, the Nikons, there shooting at what, ISO four billion? I mean, it's getting, it's insane. So you don't have to worry about it anymore. So you want to shoot, keep in mind, you do want to shoot as low as ISO as you possibly can, because there is the grain issue, even if it's small. But you don't have to be afraid to go into those high ISOs. Now if I was shooting something specifically for a commercial, a marketing campaign, or if I was shooting something that was gonna be in large format, like a billboard. I would definitely be using strobes, and I would definitely be shooting at ISO 100 to 160, depending on the camera that I was using. So keep that in mind. And I think there's some rule of thumb, with full frame versus crop-sensor cameras as to what ISOs work better. You can Google that, that's super easy to figure out. But make sure that you know what the intent of your photo is. In this case, this would be a scenario when I shooting for somebody's LinkedIn profile, or I'm shooting for their company website, stuff like that. Alright, so we already got pretty, let's, what do we got 7373 on there, yeah, cool. So you can see that you might have a little bit of detail loss, for the exposure I'm using right now in that white shirt. But overall, I would shoot it under, and I would bring back some of the other detail later. But right now, I want you to note, that we've got really good separation all the way around him. But it's not, the edge light's not overpowering. Do you understand? It's not, here's a rule for you. When you're shooting a basic, corporate head shot, business head shot. You don't want the edge light to really come past the backs of the ears. You'll start to see it break over the sides of the face, and those are some really cool images. Stylistically, you could do a lot of cool stuff with that. But, you want to make sure that those edge lights are under control. Don't think of it as, you're trying to just let the edge lights be seen. You're trying to let the subject be seen, not the lights. The coolest thing, is when somebody has to ask you how you lit it, because they can't figure it out. That's a really good compliment. Can you tell me how you did that, I'm not really sure. Then you know you're starting to get to the point, where you're really being able to understand and control your studio lights. Is that cool, alright. So I'm gonna change it up a little bit. I'm gonna move some stuff. I want to show you the difference between using this light, and using a reflector, which we'll do. And I got a new light stand, I named it Meghan. (laughing) Because poor Meghan was holding all the reflectors for me yesterday, because we didn't have a light stand small enough. And the amazing staff and crew here, at CreativeLive was able to come up with this, which I really dig. (clicking) Same deal, alright. Now again, we're kind of gonna clamshell this a little bit. (clicking, moving mechanical sound) Alright, everybody cross your fingers, here we go. Ehh, that's pretty heavy. (sigh) Although it's way more stable, than the one I have in my studio. It's fallen over three or four times. Please don't tell my clients that, it's potentially hazardous. Alright, cool, doing pretty good there. Now I'm gonna lower my angle of view. The reason I lowered that main light, is because I wanted a little more light to hit that reflector. And I know that I don't have as much power coming up, because I'm not using that light from underneath. (mechanical sound) There we go, cool. There we go. Boom, that's a great shot of your tie. Here we go. So I just raise up a little bit, to make sure that I'm not getting that in the shot. That is my light. I really like shooting this way. I know some people might not. Can you tilt a little bit this way, there you go. Just because they won't... Some people don't necessarily want something in between themselves and the subject. I don't mind. Because whenever I change anything, or I direct, I'm gonna walk up and I'm gonna talk to them. And I can even go like this. (laughs) Alright, so. So if we could pull up 7374, and 7373. And I want to just put those next to each other, just so you can kind of see the difference. Now for me, I actually like for him, the reflector a little bit better. Which would be, can we guess, that one. That's the reflector, and that's the light. There's just a little bit, it's subtle, but there's a little bit less of a glamour quality to it. And so I still like, if I'm shooting somebody and my intent is for it to be a male subject, and it's a power pose, I want it to look masculine. Even if I'm going for soft, flat light. And so, a little bit less, I've got one less catch light, and I've get a little bit less light coming from underneath. Which is gonna make it, a little bit more, exactly what I want for him. So let's do, three or four, let's work some expression. What do you say Oscar? You're in the perfect position. The only thing you gotta worry about, is the expression we're gonna use. So let's pretend that you're a really aggressive, divorced lawyer, boo! And then, we're gonna go for that. Turn your head this way, just a little bit. Alright, so let's do four. And every time you hear the shutter, I just want you to micro change an expression. And bear in mind for me, keep that jaw nice and loose. I don't want you to work that jaw too much. Okay, here we go, let's do three in a row. Ready, one, two, that's awesome. Lower the chin just a little bit, good. Three, I dig that. Relax those shoulders just a touch. Alright, and now your sympathetic. I'm sorry you're getting a divorce. That's bad. (laughs) Good, alright, now I'm gonna switch and shoot a couple vertical, just so I have them. It's a really easy way, to get an extra look for your client, and shoot a little more on that traditional sort of, leaving one shoulder open. Here we go, one. I love what you're doing with your eyes, that's awesome. Two, okay, now give me a completely relaxed expression. Awesome, alright. Drop the chin just a touch. There we go. Alright, and just a small, friendly, tiny smile at the corners of the mouth, like you understand. Hey, yeah, there you go, one, and two. Excellent, man that looks great! Cool, I really dig that! Super easy, everybody cool with that so far? Not to difficult? So now we're gonna change it up a little bit. That's a super easy lighting, and you could almost get that same type of lighting, if you had a natural light studio, where you were, have a shooting with just a big window behind you. So that's kind of what I'm trying to create with this look, a little bit. But a little edgier, when you pull out that bottom light and use the reflector instead. So I'm gonna move a couple of things around, can I? There we go. We'll move Meghan over here. Thanks Meghan, good work. Alright. (footsteps) (footsteps) (footsteps) Where's my other reflector? There we go. This one is not called Meghan. Watch your head there Oscar. There we go, thanks bud. (footsteps) (clanking) (mechanical movement) (footsteps) So I'm gonna kind of do the, go back to that classic lighting mode. Where we're gonna create that kind of tunnel of light between the two. I'm just gonna use a little bit of fill here. And a little bit of fill underneath. Alright Meghan, you're on. (mechanical clicking) Should we call her like Meghan 2, or just Meghan? There we go. Okay, good, that's exactly what I want. Now you could see, exactly what you're gonna get. Which is what I really love about these lights. You can see the pattern of light I'm creating on his face. There's no mystery to how it's gonna turn out, which is the coolest thing about it. And the other thing too. If you shoot children, or babies in your studio or in your business, these are really good for that. Because they don't flash. There's no flash that freaks kids out. You every photograph a baby and they go, you know. Alright. (sigh) I think they made a mistake casting Ben Affleck as Bat Man. I think it should have been you. Perfect, okay. I need to lower that a little bit. But I'm able to see exactly what I'm getting. Let's do a test. It think that's gonna be pretty close. I might need to lower it a little bit. What are we doing, that's the other one. Yeah, there we go, alright, I dig that! So, alright. Now in this case, if you have a man who is in good shape, and your not trying to, sort of, minimize his form. I typically will put their body into the main light, if there's a direction to the light. So in this case, I would again, have Oscar kind of turn this way, okay? And exactly right, perfect. So he's got the hands there, the hips are just above the knees, feet comfortably and flat on the floor. We want to raise the back nice and straight, and we're gonna lean this way. There you go. See how easy that is, to get somebody right into that right position. There's no mystery to it. You ever play that puzzle game, with the pegs in the triangle, where you have to leave one, the solitaire, at Cracker Barrel, or any of those things. I used to love that when I was a kid. And then somebody showed me how to do it, like there's a trick to it, and now I don't like it anymore. Maybe once you know how to do it, you won't like it anymore, or you'll like it better. Okay, there we go, perfect. Okay, so now we've got, I want to pull up those last. Let's do and 7383, if we could. And I just want to show you the difference between that sort of large, soft light source and then this, sort of, classic lighting. There's gonna be a huge, huge difference, in what you're trying to say, about the image. But in a certain way, I really do like, I really do like that classic look still. A little bit of direction, it depends on what you're going for. Now I would light it this way, probably more often. Only because that's, sort of, how I learned and one, this is a lot of times what people expect to see. But when you get a light that directional, just as if you had the sun casting the shadow of a mountain on the other side of the mountain. Think of that, you're light, people's wrinkles, bumps, any aberrations in their face whatsoever. That will get cast into their face, so that you're gonna be able to see more. You'll see more story in their face. So think about that. What you want is somebody that has a little bit, you don't want to necessarily make somebody in a certain position, look like they're 20 years younger. Because that might be bad for their brand, that might be bad for their business. Do you understand? You don't want somebody to look like they're 22, if they're trying to maybe get people to invest millions of dollars into mutual funds. You want somebody to look a little more wisened and like they know what they're talking about. You understand? Alright, cool, then we're gonna do that. Now let me just show you the opposite of this, we're gonna turn Oscar out of the light. Just to show you, that you can do this with men. But you do have to move the light a little bit. So Oscar, if you bring your knees around this way for me. Come back to me, I want you just a little bit off center. Alright, good. So you have to be careful, when you do this. Because remember we talked yesterday, about the far shoulder and the camera shoulder. And if you tilt to camera shoulder, we get sad Oscar. Go ahead and turn with me, sad Oscar. Let's go ahead and shoot sad Oscar. Good. (laughs) Now the thing about this too is, especially when you're shooting camera shoulder, with a collar and a tie and a jacket. I want you to look at his face. Look at. (laughs) Look at the way, even somebody he's is in terrific shape, but look at the way his neck bunches up over that collar. Do you understand what I mean? This is a really good argument, for using that far shoulder. Because we're shooting into that part of the neck, and you don't want it to be bunched up. And if you get a guy, who's got a little bit of weight on him, it's gonna make him really hate the photo. So the good way to do that, is tilt that head still to that far shoulder. Not as much right, let's go mostly straight up and down. Good, cool. I want you to turn your head this way, a little bit into that light. Good, here we go. This is a really, I'm gonna come fuss on your jacket, sorry. This is one, that I like, there's not like an official thing but I, kind of, call it the aristocrat. It's when you turn a man's body out of the light and bring the head back into it. And then you tilt the head to the far shoulder. It makes somebody look more intelligent, or even academic. Okay, so let's try it. So tall, we're gonna turn your body a little bit this way. Bring your nose into the light a touch, and tilt your head, now. Okay, you're gonna see exactly what I mean. Hello, professor. Okay, cool. Alright, let me go up a little bit. Yeah, he's a little more of authoritative. But it is a good look, because if you are in a situation when you have a white shirt and a dark jacket. Or let's say, for example, that you have a lady come in who's got a scoop neck. You're gonna compete for the brightest part of the image, if you put here body into the light. And so if you turn someone's body out of the light and the face back in, now the face becomes the brightest thing again.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

6 Styles of Headshots
Gear List

Ratings and Reviews

Melville McLean

Gary Hughes is possibly the best teacher I have seen here and that is a very high compliment. His business analysis is simple and to the point. His set ups and techniques are simple and straight forward, no easy task in itself. His interactions with his models/clients are finely developed and reduced into the fewest but most important key exchanges. He teaches by example how to interact and direct. If you are a high volume photography with brief time per sitter, you might especially appreciate his tips. It is extraordinarily difficult to keep a tight, well structured class going live for so long at a time. His intelligence, wit and personality are all in his favor but it is the content itself that is most impressive. I am not a portrait photographer but I have 30 years of commercial studio experience. He knows what is most important, leaves out the rest and has organized the material in anticipation of most difficulties that arise so that it rests in a seamless, smooth, coherent learning experience. All of his practical advice is excellent. Just understand that his work is about doing a relatively large number of shots in the most efficient way rather than a lot of time spent on a few clients for a completely different format [presentation like very large prints. In fact he is especially pragmatic. He emphasizes that you do not have to own the most expensive equipment but you absolutely do have to know how to use the equipment that you already have. And I am telling you this as someone he makes fun of in his course with fancy cameras and Profoto lighting gear. He is an advocate of all thought out approaches as well as relying on skills and knowledge. You will understand how and why to make all of his key, conventional light and posing set ups. He makes everything sound simple and doable -- and with his help -- it is. What you have to appreciate is that it is up to each individual to acquire the specialized skills to make our work compelling enough to be competitive. The unspoken truth that we all face is that talent plays a key role as well and that it takes time to become every accomplished. But I have also seen concentration, commitment and hard work result in developing innate talents that blossom in very successful careers. Mr Hughes reduces every step into the clearest, most essential components. He is self effacing both as a photographer and post process retoucher but he is very good indeed and does not waste time overdoing images that cannot benefit from a larger format presentation. Everything is appropriate and practical. He has already removed everything that does not matter for his purposes for us that would only interfere with the concise, clarity of his presentation.


I am so glad that I had the opportunity to watch this course. It has not only provided valuable lighting set-ups, but also great basics for posing.!. The Photoshop extraction technique Gary demonstrated was icing on the cake. Gary did a great job teaching and I greatly admired the technique in which he taught. Thanks for a great class!


This was an excellent class! The class covered so much information and great tips and ideas. Gary is funny and has an easy going approach, which makes the class that much more enjoyable. As a struggling pet photographer, I have been trying to find something to supplement my business with that does not involve children/babies, or shooting weddings again and headshots seemed to be a great option. After watching this class, I feel confident building up a headshot component to my business. Definitely recommend this class!

Student Work