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F-Type Headshot Lighting: Execution

Lesson 37 from: The Business of Professional Headshots

Gary Hughes

F-Type Headshot Lighting: Execution

Lesson 37 from: The Business of Professional Headshots

Gary Hughes

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Lesson Info

37. F-Type Headshot Lighting: Execution


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

F-Type Headshot Lighting: Execution

So, now I kind of wanna show you what the look is that we get out of it, alright? So let's bring out Oscar, we'll start with you. Hopefully it works. I set it up, this is gonna be pretty much our test shot. And I did, before we started, I did custom white balance for this setup. If there's anything that you can do in your business, that's gonna make you spend less time at a computer, I want to do it. It is my least favorite thing in the world, to spend an entire day sorting and editing images. When you first start and you first get into PhotoShop, isn't that really cool? I wanna mess with it and see what I can do and look at all the cool stuff. I am completely and totally over it now. I wanna get done with work and I want to go up and hang out with my family. And hang out with my friends, that's what I wanna do. That's what my job is for, to enable me to have the time to do the things I wanna do. So, custom white balance in a situation like this so I don't have to mess with it later. A...

nd, if you need to know how to custom white balance, there's another CreativeLive class, I'm sure, (laughs) that will explain how to do that. 'Cause we are on limited time and I really wanna show you this. Are you ready to see it? Ready, yes. (laughs) You guys just took the wind out of my sails, man. (laughter) Alright, let's do this. I'm really, really excited. 'Cause this is cool. Alright, I'm gonna do a test shot real quick, just to make sure the light is, ouch, the way I want it. Alright, perfect. Alrighty. Going up, I don't have to chit chat with Oscar, he already knows me by now. There we go, perfect. Alright, that looks pretty good. What I might do, is move you just a tiny bit closer. Got it? Okay, cool. Alright, are we getting those coming through? How cool is that? Does that look cool, or does that look cool? Imagine you can sit down and 30 seconds get a headshot that looks as cool as that, right? I dig that a lot, man, that's really neat. Somewhere Jimmy Ferrara is watching this going, "No, that's not how you do it." Is he commenting already? Does he say it's good? No, he doesn't. (laughs) Okay, cool. Now for these, I will typically shoot vertical. My test shots, I always shoot my test shots horizontal and everything else vertical, for a job like this. Is there anybody who can guess why? I'll tell you why, good guess. The reason I take my test shots landscape and the rest of them portrait is because when I go into Bridge or Lightroom or whatever I'm sorting with, you can sort the photos by orientation, right? So I can make sure that if I want to get rid of my test shots from the pool, I can just show only the horizontal images and just delete the test shots. Is that cool? Makes it really, really easy to sort through those. That way I'm not going through hunting and pecking trying to find those test shots later to pull them out. 'Cause every time there's a break and then I get a new rush of people, I have to do a couple of test shots before I start and I need to pull those out of the pool really, really quickly. Is that cool, everybody get that? So, we're gonna go through, Oscar, I want you to stand up for me. And I want you to stand right there. And I'm gonna go through exactly how I do this every single time. We've never met before, okay? Cool, alright. Come on down sir, have a seat right here. It's good to see you, I'm Gary, how you doing? What's your name? Oscar. Oscar, man, it's really cool to meet you. I'll try to get you back on your way just as soon as I can. I know how much everybody loves having their picture taken. Want you to turn your knees this way for me, just a little bit, put your hands right here, on the tops of your legs, sit up nice and tall and I want you to lean towards me, bring your chin down just a little bit, tilt your head this way, that's perfect. Okay, here we go. (laughter) Okay, perfect. Okay, Oscar, thanks a lot. Just go this way, go see Kevin over here. He's gonna help you select your image and you're all set. Next, that's it. Alright, now that's one thing you can do. Not bad, right? For a 10 second headshot session, I think that's pretty good. I can deal with that, it looks good back here. I hope it looks good at home. Now, I'm gonna get up again. Sorry, camera crew. I'll be right here for about five minutes. There's something that we do that is a really great way to have something to talk about with somebody when you're with them for 20 seconds, okay? Can I borrow a tear-off of a sheet of paper or something from somebody? Just a half a sheet of that paper or whatever you've got just... Cool, alright. Now, on this side, I want you to write your name on the top. Just your first name. Big? Big. And now, underneath that, I want you to write where you're from. I'll wait. She's working on her penmanship. That's great. (laughter) Alright, now I want you to put down your pen and pad and bring that piece of paper and come on up here. Stand right here for a second. I'm going to sit back down. Cool. You see, this is why I don't get up and down from this a lot. Why I have assistants running everybody through. Come on down, Miss, I'm right here ready for you. Just have a seat right there on the stool. Cool, just hold that card up, I'm gonna photograph that for you. Okay, and this is a point where that volume system, Foto Velocity, I told you about. This will have the QR code that is tied to their name. Or any other information. So, at this point, I need to photograph that QR code so my computer program, Foto Velocity, can organize these later on. Any volume system will have something similar. Some people use a laser scanner. Some people use the QR codes or barcodes of some kind. This is just the way that's easier for us to do it. And, as a by-product, I get to go... (clicks) Let's see if my camera works now, okay there we go. And that one didn't work. Hi Kylie, I'm Gary, it's nice to meet you. How's it going, I'll just take that from you. That's awesome, put that right here. Kevin, I got one for you, okay, boom. You're from Seattle, that's cool. Bring your knees this way for me. Have you ever been to the aquarium there? Do you like Beluga whales? I think they're nature's sexiest whale, why don't you lean into me just a little bit this way. Bring your chin down a touch, turn your head this way. Yeah, that's perfect, one and two. Okay, Kylie, bring your knees around the other way for me. Cool, that's excellent. A little bit more, I want you to turn your head this way. Bring your chin down, tilt your head this way a little bit. And down a little bit more. Cool, are you a football fan? Yeah, a little bit. Yeah, I'm not either, that's okay, you don't have to be. (laughs) I'm really not, okay, cool. Hey, it was really great to meet you. I hope you have a wonderful time at the convention. Just head out this way, go see Kevin, and he'll help you select your image and you're all done. Thank you. Right? How easy is that? It does take, I mean, I have an Irish friend, who calls it the Blarney. He says you've got to turn the Blarney up to 11. You basically just have to, you have to realize that this is not an interaction where you're gonna have this really meaningful thing. You need it to be quick and pleasant and slightly amusing. And then get somebody back on their way, that's all there is to it. It's basically one of those things where we really wanna bond and have these meaningful interactions with our clients, but we're talking about something that takes 10, 15 seconds. By the way, Kylie, thank you so much for doing that. That was probably super awkward. (laughs) But it doesn't matter if it's a little awkward and a little quick in the beginning. Because they're about to go over and see the picture and go, "Holy crap, that's really good." Because it doesn't matter how you get there, it matters that you got there. Does that make sense? So, we're not really worried about, people expect this to be like an assembly line. What they don't expect is what they're gonna see when they get to the image selection. Does that make sense? That's what we're going for, that's really cool. So before I move on to the next do we have a couple questions we want to field about this? Let's see do we have any in our studio? Let me jump back over. Okay, can you just tell people again maybe where they can find out more about the QR code system you were talking about? Absolutely, the volume organizational system we use is called Foto Velocity, it's with an "F", We use that one, because I like it 'cause you're able to print out just on regular labels QR codes and put then on index cards. And so I've got basically everybody gets an index card, you write their name on it and then you can just photograph it. So the program can extrapolate from the photograph that person's information and then organize it later. So one of the cool things that you can do here, is you can, let's say that I'm shoot a convention and doing headshots for 1,000 people and then with those 1,000 people, each one is from, you've got 250 people from accounting. You've got 300 people from sales. You've got 150 people from IT. And all for this giant corporation. I can use this program to put in that file whatever information about them that is gonna help the company organize them later on. So it's gonna be, John Smith, from Utah, who works in IT. That, I can make it so that Foto Velocity exports the name of the file as it says Smith, John, Utah, IT and .jpeg. And so that they can get it exactly to who they need to get it to. And I do charge extra for that. I don't just do that, they have to pay for that. Because I have to have a whole extra person there to do it. One to check them in, one to help them choose the image, and also, I have to have somebody afterwards to sort through all the images and put them into the program. So you make sure you get paid for that. But it is a really cool thing to be able to upsell. Because in these situations, I'm not selling prints. I'm not selling 11 by 14s or 8 by 10s. I don't really have anything to sell after the fact, so I have to sell the services upfront. Does that make sense, everybody cool with that? Cliff, you had a question? I was just gonna ask you about, roughly, do you have a diagram in the course hand outs when you purchase that on... Yes, the diagram for this, at least my version of it, is going to be in the-- 'Cause, again, I did not invent this. I want to really be clear about that. This isn't my lighting, I did not invent it. But, I will put a diagram of the way that I do it, specifically for the volume into the materials that you're gonna get. It's not quite ready yet, but it is coming soon. What's the best way to, I guess to reach out to conference centers for this kind of a bid? That's an awesome question. I'm gonna come just out to the front here and answer that. To get this type of work, in my experience there are only two ways that I've ever gotten this type of work. Three ways, actually. The first is your search engine optimization has to be on point. This type of work doesn't happen a lot. This is not very specific to everybody's area. This is really kind of a niche thing, if you're in-- nitch, niche, who says, I don't know. Whatever that word is. If you're in an area, or near an area, that has conference centers, it is a business center. Orlando happens to be one of the biggest ones in the country. Where we have conventions, multiple, every single day of the year, pretty much all year long. And so, if you're in Duluth, you may not have that. But if you're an hour outside of Cincinnati, you do probably have that. You drive and it's worth it, an hour, to go make a few thousand bucks, I would think. So, the SEO is where most of that business comes from, for me. 'Cause here's what happens: The boss says to middle management guy, "Hey, Bob, I need you to find us a photographer "for our convention." And then Bob does what Bob knows how to do, because he's usually about late 20s, early 30s, post-graduate, gets on the Google machine and types in Orlando photographers. Or types in L.A. photographers, Atlanta photographers, New York photographers, whatever he's looking for. And then he finds the first five photographers on the list, or so, that look like they'll be able to do the job. And then he emails them, one, two, three, four, five. The first person that gets back to him, can provide the necessary paperwork and come within their budget of what they want to do, is the one who gets the job. It's not an emotional sale, it's completely mechanical. Now, the second way that you get the job, is gonna be personal referral. There are, if you hook up with other vendors, it's this whole underground thing that you may not know about. But if you're in or near a town that does convention and event work, there are so many vendors that just service those conventions. I mean it's crazy, it's like an anthill. If you're ever outside you'll see so many different people dragging equipment in and doing-- you've got event planners, you've got rental places. You've got all these different vendors and every once in a while, not the most often, but one of those vendors is able to refer us a job like this or we're able to refer them. Because somebody will come to us and say, "Okay, you're doing the event coverage "and you're gonna do these headshots for us. "Can you do a green screen photo booth?" I go, "No, that's not really what we do. "But I know this great company that does that "and I can give you their number." And that's how that type of stuff happens. Happened to me just two weeks ago. And it was the exact opposite. A green screen photo booth place that doesn't do headshots or event coverage recommended me when they asked them if they'd do photography for the event. And so that's another way to get the jobs like this. The third way, which is probably second in that pecking order, is to develop relationships with the people who book those events at the hotels and conference centers. And like I said, anything else, never go to anybody and just, the worst thing you can do is go and be like, "Hey, can I be on your list of vendors "that you refer for stuff?" They're not even gonna return your email or phone call. But, you can offer things like, if they have a cool event and they want photos to promote themselves with, if they need headshots of their staff. There's so many different ways that you can develop those relationships and it's not instantaneous. It is gonna take time. I recommend, not necessarily, cold calling those people and going in and just trying to talk to them. But there are a lot of different meetup groups and chamber of commerce and whatever areas that a lot of these people are involved in, that's a great way to get in and meet people to do that stuff. Does that answer your question? That was a very long answer to that question. (laughter) That's great, we have a question here. Sheldon? So, can you walk us through how exactly the renaming process goes with the jpeg file, 'cause you said, they come in with a barcode gets scanned, and goes in the program. That normally, that's your test shot. So that's getting-- We use that as the test shot and also to learn their name. And where they're from, 'cause their name's on the card as well as the QR code. So that's getting, you're getting rid of that one image? No, not those, that's not a test shot. That's the QR code shot. So, those I take horizontally also. So basically, when I go through when I sort them, it's like this, QR code shot and then the choice of the image that they picked. And then it's QR code shot then next person. Next person's QR code... It's literally QR code, portrait, QR code, headshot, QR code, headshot. And once you sort it into just one, two, one, two, or however many you take of each person, you put them into the program. And you can tell it to rename it whatever you want, and it'll do it for you, no problem. And that's something we can get into the specifics, but I think we're really more wanting to stay on the actual shooting of the headshots, but you're gonna be around later, I'll be happy to talk about it. But if you want more information, just check out, it's the program that I use, nobody paid me to say this, it's not a commercial. Just happens to be what I use and like, is, foto with an "f". Okay, cool, alright, will we move forward? Alright, so, now I wanna talk about the settings for the camera for this, 'cause this is kind of important. I use this 85 1.8, but I'm not shooting a super shallow depth of field. I'm right there in the middle, okay? So, I'm shooting it, usually about 5.6 or f/6.3. And that's gonna, at that distance, you gotta remember that there are things that affect depth of field very dramatically, okay? Couple of those things, obviously, number one would be aperture. The wider your aperture, the lower your f stop number. The more shallow your depth of field. However, that is also severely affected by your distance from the subject. If you're close to a subject, that depth of field really shrinks, no matter what your at it's gonna seem to get smaller. So if you're at f/2 and you're this far from the subject, their eyelashes will be in focus and the end of their nose will not, alright? So, even though I'm shooting at f/6.3, which is, if you're shooting a portrait at a normal distance is gonna give you a pretty solid depth of field. If you're as close as I am when I do this, it's gonna give you the appearance of a pretty shallow depth of field, you're gonna get eyes, nose, mouth and mask of the face will be in focus, but it's gonna start to get soft and fall off around the edges. And one of the reasons that I do that, is because I want to keep the retouching and the editing to a minimum and a little softness on the depth of field, hides a lot of imperfections in the skin. It's sharp enough and depth of field enough, to where it'll be sharp in the mask of the face, but soft enough to where you're not gonna see every little bump and cranny and nook in someone's skin. Is that cool? Awesome, let's go ahead and bring Sharney out here, too. You ready? I wanna make a really specific point about the difference between photographing men and photographing women that I do for this. 'Cause you guys have seen how quickly I can move people through and that's exactly how I do it. In fact, I take probably a couple more pictures than I just did, but here's the thing, once I know I've got the shot, I've got the great expression, (claps) it's done. I'll shoot a little bit longer, if someone takes a little longer to warm up to me. But, if I get it in the first three or four, (whistles) they're out. And if they want to do it again, they can come back during the next break and I'll shoot them again, no problem. Absolutely happy to do that, okay? But, I always, always, always, take more time with ladies, because I don't have the time to get to know them and what they like, which angle of their face. So with the men, I'll sit them down, I'll look at them, and I'll make a decision, they look good this way. And with the ladies, I'll go, I'm not gonna make that discernment, because they're gonna have a favorite way that they look one way or the other, and I'm gonna just shoot more angles. Because men typically, not always, this isn't a universal truth, men seem to care a lot less. They just want to sit down, have their picture taken and go away. For a lot of women, that I photograph, these educated, professional women, some of them can be more particular about the way they look in photographs. And so I want to be sensitive to that and I want to give them a few more options. Not like 20, but I will give them maybe 8 or 10, instead of four or five, does that make sense? Okay, I just wanted to make sure you guys were all cool with that. I'm gonna go back in and shoot, if you guys are ready to do that. And I'll run you in, slowed down speed. How I would do it. So we won't go full speed. How's it going? Good. You've been waiting a while for your picture? Okay, cool. Alright, so typically, they're gonna face me straight on. Hold up your imaginary card. Okay, here we go, imaginary card. Boom. Okay, excellent, alright, just bring your knees just over this way for me, perfect. And in this case, I'm not turning with them, but I am guiding them with my hand. Alright, I like your posture, everything looks good. I just want you to lean into me just a touch. Bring your chin down a little bit, tilt your head this way just a little bit. Are you ready? Are you having an awesome time at convention? Did you get drunk a lot? No. No? That's good. You're here to work, clearly. Tilt your head this way a little bit for me, perfect. One, two, that's awesome. Three, that is great. Now I just want you to bring your knees around this way for me, 'cause I like to shoot both sides of ladies' faces, just in case you have a favorite. Do you have a favorite? Which one is your favorite? This side. This one, okay, let me show how I can, turn your body this way and shoot this side of your face. Just turn your head and now I'm shooting your favorite side of your face, so now you're gonna get it from both sides and you get to choose which one you like the best. Here we go, ready, one? And two, perfect, tilt your head this way a little bit. I go, one, and two, awesome. Alright, perfect. Alright, thanks very much, if you would kindly move, do watch your step there are cords and cables about, go see Kevin. He's gonna help you choose your image. Kevin is actually a guy that works with me a lot. (laughs) I didn't just make up Kevin. In fact, if you're watching Kevin, I mentioned your name. I mentioned my other assistant, Derek, I mentioned his name earlier and so, I didn't want Kevin to feel left out. Cool, now can we pull a couple of those up? Let me give you some numbers. Lets do 7554. 7552. 7550. And 7548. Excellent, okay, cool, we got this on the-- if you could just show those four, perfect. So what I've got here is I've got the four basic angles and head positions that I can do in just a very short amount of time. So I've shot this side of her face, and the other side of her face. Head tilt this way, that way, this way, that way. With the body position either way. So the chances are that she's gonna like at least one of those. And so you can do it quickly and economically. One, two, three, four, super easy.

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!

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