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Shooting for Extraction Headshot with Male Model

Lesson 27 from: The Business of Professional Headshots

Gary Hughes

Shooting for Extraction Headshot with Male Model

Lesson 27 from: The Business of Professional Headshots

Gary Hughes

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Lesson Info

27. Shooting for Extraction 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

Shooting for Extraction Headshot with Male Model

Alright, now when I shoot for extraction, I'm gonna shoot in a landscape orientation because I want the head and the shoulders. And in fact, I might even shoot a little bit more than just head and shoulders, I might come down to a medium length shot because I'm gonna be compositing stuff later and it's better to have a little more. But you don't wanna try to cut out and composite an image when you only have one shoulder in. So you wanna kinda shoot all the way around. So let's do a little quick test. Now, I'm gonna wanna shoot this probably at ISO 160, that's a guess. I'm gonna go into F because I really need that sharpness. Alrighty, oh and I also am gonna change my color balance to flash. I could do an auto white balance or a custom white balance, which I normally would do but for the sake of expediency, I'm just gonna set it to flash which will be pretty close. As long as all the pictures I take are the same white balance then I only have to make one correction after the fact. Okay,...

alright let's test. And they all fire. Okay, here we go. We're at ISO 400 at F and I think we're pretty close to the exposure I want. And I'm gonna use that brick wall because the texture isn't enough to really cause me any problems. So, we're gonna switch from angry divorce lawyer, Oscar, to a real estate guy. Are you good with that? Can you do this one pose with me, just like, time to close, right? (laughing) Okay, good, you got it. That's how we close in the real estate business. Alright, so remember we're shooting at F11, we want that sharpness from the front to the, ooh, that's a good look. Just do it this way. There we go, perfect. He's ready to close, man, this guy. Okay, so, make sure I got everything in there I want in there. Awesome. Alright so, I want a little less contrast so I'm gonna bring that reflector in a little bit more. Okay. I want a really good open, non-contrasty light. Now if you look at the image, you can see every little hair on his head all the way around. Are you with me on that? And that is really what we want. Good. Now, adding the reflector in on the side, and I've brought a lot of fill and I'm taking care of those shadows and bringing everything up to a little more pleasant kind of a look. Okay, so what I've got, just to recap, is I have a background where the difference between the background and the subject is gonna be, the contrast is I'm gonna have no problem getting him cut out because look at the difference between his jacket and the difference between the background. Now let's say he's also wearing a white shirt, okay, so if I had the collar of his shirt was breaching right here on the edges onto a white background, when you're trying to extract, Photoshop or whatever program you use would have a hard time finding the difference between those pixels. But because I've got an unlit, white background that's coming across gray here because I'm not putting any light on it, it's gonna be a lot easier for me to grab those pixels, Photoshop will be able to tell the difference. Are you with me on that, that make sense? So what we're going for is a good, strong line of contrast all the way around the edges and you can see every pixel, the hair and everything all the way around. That's what we're going for. Alright? Good. Alright Oscar, let's get a plethora of photos here. I want you tilt this way a little bit. Just relax the shoulders just a touch 'cause I do like your closing pose, it's good. Bring this hand in the hole a little bit more. There you go, perfect. Alright, good, perfect. So let's do three just like that. One. Good. And two. Ooh, nice eye work on that one. And three. Good. Now we're gonna change it because I've got that one, it's in the bag. I don't need to shoot 5,000 of them, okay? Now, I'm going to ask you just put your hands in the pockets. Keep that top button buttoned, good. Let me just make sure you're not rumpled. Alright. Okay. Good, alright. Let's see how the pose looks. Everything looks good, exactly. A little bit more straight. There you go. And tilt the head this way a little bit. Okay, one. Good. You see how I'm shooting a lot more wide than just a headshot? Keep enough room around this to give yourself to work, room to work with. Two. Good. And I might change my camera angle just a little bit. Nah, I gotta keep it exactly the same. Changed my mind. So let's do two or three more. I wanna give you a range of expressions to choose from. So we are a real estate agent, right, but we wanna seem like we know what we're doing, but we also wanna seem approachable, like, "I'm gonna work hard for you, I'm your buddy." Yeah, good. Give me a little tiny bit of the tilt of that shoulder, not a lot, good. This is a great example, when you're doing a straight up and down standing pose, where you can tilt to the camera shoulder with a man and just a little bit will make him look a little more open. So we're gonna do just, that's it, just, that's it, like two degrees. Perfect. One. good. And two. Excellent. That's perfect, okay, not a problem. Alright, now I'm gonna go ahead and do what I always do which is shoot both sides. So I'm gonna have you turn this way for me. Good. Point that right foot right at the camera. Excellent, good. You see just that little tilt, how much of a difference that makes in the feel of the image? I'm gonna give myself options for when I put this thing together for my client later, okay. Alright, good. Alright I want you tilt this way a touch. There you go. Relax those shoulders just a little bit. Yeah, good. I say that a lot, by the way, relax the shoulders, because there's a couple of things that people do almost universally when you're taking their picture. One is, especially if it's your average, run of the mill, everyday human being who doesn't get their picture taken everyday, is they tense up their shoulders, and they press their lips together. So one of the things I say a lot is relax your jaw, relax your lips, and I say relax your shoulders. And it really helps come across in the image, it shows relaxation, especially since a headshot is head and shoulders. We're working with the head and the shoulders. Okay, perfect, perfect Oscar, that's great. One, good. And two. And heres the important thing that you wanna remember about shooting for extraction, when you're shooting multiple people, and I'm gonna bring Shawnee in here and shoot her also, is that you cannot change the camera position and you cannot change the focal length per person. You don't wanna change the perspective, you want them to look standing next to each other in fake life like they actually look in real life, okay? If you change the lens perspective, one person's gonna be bigger or smaller or wider or thinner or taller or shorter. So I cannot change the height or the distance. In fact, do we have a bit of tape somewhere? Yeah, just somebody toss me, oh, I've got some gaff tape right here. Remember, I said that's one thing you always wanna have handy? I said that yesterday. Yeah, a $500 roll of tape. So take that tape, this is how cheap I am, I'll show you this. I take a little bit and when I need two pieces of gaff tape, I just rip it in half, long ways, and now I have two. Put this one foot forward and one foot forward there. Perfect, you have to mark that position. So, no matter who comes in, don't move your light, don't move your camera. It has to stay, I mean, a little bit, if you bump into it you haven't ruined the whole thing. But you wanna even make a note of your focal length and if you didn't know, it'll tell you, I'm at about 85 right now. I'm between 70 and 100. And so if I note that focal length, keep your settings the same, lock it in. If you have a button, a lot of Nikon's have these and I know the 5D III has this, is that you can lock your aperture in so that it won't change. Because you change your aperture with this little thumb wheel and you can really screw yourself over. Alright, perfect, ready. So let's keep that the same. Ready? Time to close. Good, two. Alright, good. So now I've given myself plenty of options. So what I'm gonna do is, I'm gonna bring in my next person. So Oscar, you're all set, thank you. Shawnee, come on up here. Are you ready to close? Yes. (laughing) We have a question in the front row. Yeah, shoot. So, if you're doing the group of lawyers and you've got 12 people coming in over the course of like let's say a month to get that shot, what is your system then to make sure that your camera stays the same, your tripod is at the same height? Good question, I use a really high tech piece of software called paper and I write everything down on it. In reality, I do, I have a tape measure and I will literally measure the distance of everything from everything else and I will have that or take a picture of it or make an Evernote, whatever it is, however you need to remember that. I will like, everything from the height of the light, the distance of the light from the subject, the distance of the reflector from that light. Everything, the distance of the background to the subject, the distance of the camera position, the height of the camera position, all the camera settings and the focal length of the lens. In fact, if you wanna take one variable out of the equation, you could always shoot this with a fixed focal length lens like an 85 or a 50 and then you wouldn't have to worry about, you know what the focal length is gonna be. That's one way to sort of eliminate that. They do that a lot, people who do school photos. They'll shoot a lot with fixed lenses like an 85 or a so they know that every kid's getting shot at the same focal length regardless of what school or what day they get photographed on. So there are certain things you can do to take some mystery out of it but I do, I literally write everything down in that case. I don't have to do it a lot, most of the time I am shooting all the people in the same day but when I'm not, I do write everything down. Yeah, that's absolutely super critical, great question, great question. Okay, so we know that she's in the exact same place and everything, except for the camera that I just moved. Let's do a quick test. Cool, perfect. Okay. Let's see, I wanna wait until that one comes up. Cool, alright, is it possible to put 462 please and 461 side by side? And everything is exactly the same. Now what we have here is also, Shawnee here is tall so they will kind of be, they're about the same height as a matter of fact but you can see that proportionally, they are going to look exactly the same in this as if they were standing right next to each other in person because I haven't moved or changed anything. You're good with that? Everybody kinda get that concept? This is key when doing this. And this is what a tripod, by the way, (whistling) comes in handy in these situations because you're not gonna, no matter how awesome you are, you're not gonna nail it handholding something like this. Even though I'm at a 160th of a second at F and I could easily handhold this image and have it be nice and sharp, I really have to keep that perspective and distance the same. I cannot tell you how much aggravation you're gonna save yourself just doing it this way.

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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