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One-Light High Key Headshot with Female Model

Lesson 14 from: The Business of Professional Headshots

Gary Hughes

One-Light High Key Headshot with Female Model

Lesson 14 from: The Business of Professional Headshots

Gary Hughes

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Lesson Info

14. One-Light High Key Headshot with Female 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

One-Light High Key Headshot with Female Model

Charny, come on down. This will be our beautiful model, Charny. I am saying that right? Yes. Okay, cool. So, go ahead and I want you to have a seat. And I will show you, we're gonna talk about male and female posing a little bit. Okay, perfect. Probably, if you take a little bit of weight off the seat, you wanna come up a couple of inches. Just because you're a little taller. Alright. Everybody sort of gets that, how we did all that? What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna use this same setup to illustrate the point of male versus female posing for professional head shots. So you can do the exact same thing with Charny that you did with Oscar, alright? So I want you to turn into the light a little bit this way. Perfect, just rest your hands here, okay. She already does that naturally. You find a lot of women just sort of sit with their hands in their lap and they look fine. So you won't have to mess with a good thing. Sit up nice and tall. I want you to lean towards me a little bit, and til...

t your head towards the light, and bring your chin down a little, and turn your head this way. There it is, okay cool. Let's do a test shot. Now one thing that you will run into, she has long hair, parts her hair on this side, and the light's on this side. So we gotta kinda try to circumvent having that hard shadow. So I just want you to just kind of pull that hair back behind the side of your eyebrow just a little. Perfect, that's where we are. Okay, so this is that same exact pose for her. Let me just dial it in there. Okay. She's a smiler everybody. We're gonna have a smiler here. Okay, Charny I want you to sit up a little taller, back straight, and lean forward to me. Good, tilt a little. And when you have hair on that side, a good way to keep it out of the eye is a little head tilt. And we'll help you with that. Tilt a little, chin down a touch, right there. And turn your head this way, right there, okay. And just one more time before we take the photo, just pull that right back, good. Now I want you to relax your expression. Take a deep breath, let it all out. There ya go. Chin down just a touch, head this way a little bit. Boom, okay. Now we're getting a lot more shadow because of the hair but we got the basics down. So I'm gonna add a little more fill. Now here's one thing also, we have really cool, long, beautiful hair to work with. You see we get a little bit of a shadow where the hair is on the side of the face. So we'll talk about that. I'm gonna take this other reflector. If you happen to have another piece of insulation board from Home Depot. It's a really cool trick to add a little bit of edge light to your photo. I know you probably can't see me, I'm still here. Alright, boom. So now, we're using this light is gonna be a light just to give us, not necessarily a hot highlight, but a little more definition in that dark hair, okay. And I want you to tilt this way, kind of a lot. Just a little more like that. And I'm gonna pull this way just a little. There we go, we got it. Okay Charny. Here we are, okay, up a little, straighten that back. Perfect, that's great. Alright Charny, here we go, 1-2-3. And alright. Relax that expression. And now I want you to give me just a little smile that touches the corners of your mouth. Yeah, that's perfect. Tilt a little this way, just one more time go like that. Alright, you got it. Drop that chin just a touch. There we go, perfect. Rockin' it, piece of cake. Now this is a little typical. You can use the same pose over and over and over again. You see how I leave the left shoulder out, cut the one shoulder, and leave room for a crop if I need to. But, this is where you're gonna get into a little more assertive. You're gonna get a little more strong. But if you wanna do something if, let's say you've got a real estate agent or somebody like that, and you wanna do something that is a little more open. First of all, with women too, it's not a bad practice to turn their body out of the main light and bring their head back to it. This is something that works a lot. So, Charny, if you would turn your feet this way for me. Just so, back to me just a touch, there. And now, I'm gonna shoot into the other side of the face, so I want you to turn your head into the light. Good, straighten that back, lean forward to me, good. Turn your head, chin down. I want you to tilt the top of your head this way a little bit. Chin down a little bit, eyes to me, good, alright. You got it. I want you to see the difference between these two. We actually moved you over this way a little bit somehow. I'm gonna move the light just to adjust. There we go. Alright, Meghan, can I get you to hold this one more time? Can we get Meghan extra credit? Alright. Now this is important, especially with the ladies. I love this uplighting. It's gonna add a lot of softness to the image. Okay, thank you Meghan. Okay, here we go. Alright, just one more time like this for me. Okay, now here's another common problem that you're gonna run into. Is always make sure that women with long hair that the hair is not sticking to their chest. Yours is fine. Or sticking to their shoulders. That's a nightmare retouching wise, to have to do that. So always make sure, especially if you're going to, guys, if you're going to touch a woman, say, "Is it alright if I move your hair off your shoulder?" And I do that every single time I go to touch my subject, I ask every single time. Because this is one of those situations where I'm very often alone in the studio. And so I wanna go out of my way to make sure that I am not making anyone uncomfortable. And in fact, I like to turn on the zazz a little bit. Just, you know, be a little more relaxed, a little more fun, a little more friendly. Just so that nothing gets misconstrued. So, when you're dealing with the ladies, gentlemen, always ask before you touch them. That is my philosophy. But, you will hear this a lot, is it alright if I touch you one more time? You will hear this a lot when they go oh I love that, ah I wish my hair wasn't doing that one thing. So always make sure that you have that hand mirror ready to go so you can say how do you like your hair, does your hair look good, are you happy with that? Good, let's rock and roll. Alright, just a slight brush of that hair out of the eye Charny. That's gorgeous. Turn your head a little bit this way, chin down a touch. And we're there. And lean into me a little, okay. And one more brush of that hair out of the eye. There ya go. Chin down a touch and there we go. I'm getting a little harshness. But that's okay. The point is the pose that we're doing right now. Now bring this in a little more and a little underneath. I really wanna fill those shadows. Meagan you're amazing. Alright, do one more, alright. Turn your head into that light, keep going. Okay, we gotta leave room for the crop. Bang, okay, cool. Now, if we could put up the last one I took and then two before that would be really useful. So I'll show you the absolute, you're gonna see night and day, the difference between those two poses. So let's get those last three up if we can. Very cool, man, they got the tech here, don't they? This is the coolest place. Alright, there we go. So let's look at these three right here. That first pose is gonna be, that's gonna be a little more of the assertive type. And then with this pose we turned the body out of the light and the head back in with the tilt to the camera shoulder. You see you get a little more approachability, a little more of sort of, what would be considered a typically feminine pose. If I were to do that with Oscar, it would look pretty silly in this context. In this type of shot that we're doing. But all of this stuff, in fact, that we're doing, is to demonstrate that you can do this with one light. And that the posing is really not that difficult. What's really cool with these backgrounds is that, we're gonna keep on with one light. Is that you can fold them up and switch them very quickly. Lacey can I get you to help me? There's that other background that's in the pouch over here for the sake of time. Alright so, I did have a request here from folks online. Your friend Jim, who says that you're really good at folding this thing up. (laughs) Any chance we can see you do that? Alright, alright. The biggest problem with owning one of these things is that folding them can be difficult. Thanks Jim, oh my God, you're getting a phone call later. See how big they are can be cumbersome. I don't even know if you guys have a shot wide enough for this. We good? Okay, so you wanna make a taco. (grunts) Like so, background taco. Fold it underneath. Now I'm not gonna be able to do it, since I'm on camera. And then fold it up just like a reflector. So they fold up pretty small, 5 foot by 7 foot, super useful.

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