Oh the dreaded head shot. Why do I use the term “dreaded?” First, if you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you would know that I offered free head shots to all of my followers and friends. Those who were lucky enough to spend an hour with me under the bright lights probably did not know that head shots are a fairly new animal to me. Sure, I’ve photographed head shots before, but I’ve never attempted to perfect the art and find my own style. My goal in offering the free photo shoot was to get practice, practice, and more practice. Low and behold, it worked!
So back to why I called the head shot “dreaded. ” I don’t think the subject of a head shot particularly enjoys having theirs taken and my job as the photographer is not exactly simple. I have to make sure I capture the subject from multiple creative, but flattering angles, with the best light, and from what I’ve heard from a few of my models “their better side” (I love this phrase by the way). I pride myself on being a spontaneous “capture the moment” photographer, but as a head shot or portrait photographer, I need to create the moment while making sure my subject is comfortable with me and their surroundings. That does not occur spontaneously.
Head shots are calculated and thought out. I learned that I need to control every aspect of each shot; the crop, the color, the key light, the angle, the body, head, face and shoulder angles, exposure, location… I’m not going to continue with this list because I know you have other things to do tonight. This project taught me to slow down, speak slower and pay attention to all of the little details that I would not have noticed being a “spontaneous” photographer. This project began as practice, turned into a study of sorts and ended with confidence.
Even though I began this post referring to the head shot as “dreaded,” I no longer feel that way. Thanks to some great advice from a couple of photographers I can someday only hope to be as successful as and tons of research, I now see a head shot as an opportunity to try something new and build on what I already know. But most importantly make my subjects look as drop dead gorgeous as possible!