How do you shoot headshots for children? This is a great question, especially due to the fact that more and more children are now entering the entertainment business and are required by casting directors to have headshots. Whether you are an aspiring headshot photographer or a parent of a child who wants to start acting, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind to be able to get the best possible headshots for children.
1. Make sure that the child is fully fed and in a great mood. If the child comes into the session hungry and not smiling, the headshot session is going to be a failure. The child should be as happy as possible and not have any distractions.
2. Allow the child to select their own clothing. The reason for this is that most children have certain clothes that they really love to wear, which means that if they are wearing them, they are more likely to be happy. Just be sure that the clothing does not have any logos or wildly excessive patterns. Asides from that, there are not many rules for headshots for children.
3. The parent should accompany the child throughout the photo shoot. The headshot photographer does not necessarily know what the child needs when he or she starts crying. The parent or guardian would. The parents or guardians should be sure to bring along all of the necessary things for the child, including a favorite toy or any other object that the child might really want when he or she begins to get unhappy.
4. The parent of the child should understand that the session should be booked for about 3 to 4 hours. This will give sufficient time in between segments of the headshot session for the child to have a break and get happy again. If the session is extremely short, there will be no time for a break and the child will not be very happy, which will show up in the shots.
Hopefully these tips have been helpful to you. I offer professional outdoor headshots services for adults and children actors, and would love to talk to you if you're interested in setting up a headshot session.
Truthfully, one of the most interesting things that I've learned while becoming a professional headshot photographer has actually dealt with the way that people learn things. What I find interesting is that I am much more easily able to explain to an aspiring headshot photographer the process that I went through in order to get where I am. The reason for this is that as I learn new things, I can easily share that knowledge. Instead of making a huge jump from starting as an unknowing and inexperienced photographer to becoming a master, you're much more easily able to understand how it's done because you can see all the details and all the steps that took place in between that jump.
This article is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Many photographers ask me, “What are the best camera settings to use for professional head shots?” Initially, most entry-level photographers will set their cameras on a much more contrasty setting. The reason for this is because they believe that high contrast makes the image look more beautiful, and so they opt to shoot in that format. However, as the aspiring headshot photographer begins to gain more knowledge in the field, they begin to realize the power of post-production editing for photos. They will wind up making a choice between either shooting in RAW format or shooting in JPEG format and setting the camera settings as neutral (little contrast) as possible. By making the settings neutral, they are enabling themselves to make many adjustments in postproduction.
If I had written this article only a few months ago, I would've boldly recommended that the photographer shoots RAW or neutral JPEG. However, experience has led me to realize that this is actually not the optimum setting for the camera. Instead, I now realize that if I were to shoot in JPEG format, the images will come out looking the best when the adjustments are actually made in the camera. There are always trade-offs in photography, and there are ways to make the images shot in RAW or neutral JPEG look as good or better than the images shot in JPEG with the camera in the correct settings at the time of the shoot. However, I believe that the camera has excellent settings, and this, coupled with the fact that RAW images take up so much space and take a long time to edit, or that neutral JPEG images will take much longer to edit if you have to apply all kinds of filters to them to make them stand out more, I have opted to shoot with the correct camera settings at the beginning.
Shooting with a higher contrast setting will also make you a much better photographer. You have less latitude to work with, so you really have to be spot on when adjusting the exposure of the image. Another advantage to shooting with the correct camera settings beforehand besides the fact that it will save you a lot of time when you're editing later on is that once you burn the disc of all of the images to give to the clients, they will actually have usable images instead of extremely washed-out images that will make them think that you are less professional. Remember, clients don't understand all that goes into photography and if they think that the images don't look good, they won't understand why you shot them that way and they will think that you're a bad photographer.
Now, to get down to the dirty details:
I typically shoot my images slightly warm, with a high contrast setting and a slightly increased color saturation level. Adjusting the white balance in-camera as opposed to adjusting in postproduction will allow for a much more realistic looking effect. Notice that if you make the color bluish in the camera the image will actually look as though the settings were that way naturally. However if you make that same blue adjustment in Photoshop, the images will actually look fake, because things that were supposed to be true white will actually wind up looking blue. This is a dead giveaway to clients that you actually adjusted the image in post production as opposed to shooting it that way at the beginning.
I sincerely hope that this article was useful to you. As an aspiring headshot photographer, I am going through all of the different stages and I'd love to take you along the journey with me and teach you each of the things that I learned. This way, you will understand not only how to take headshots, but actually the reasons why you should do these things.
Professional Headshot Photographer
An important part of headshot photography is personality and having the ability to bring it into the shots. As either photographer or actor, you must be able to bring personality into headshots.
As an actor/headshot client, you need to know what your personality is. Are you a funny person? Are you serious? Are you nerdy? What kind of personality are you? If your best friend had one word to best describe you, what would it be? These are things to think about before your headshot season. Make sure you know so that when the photographer asks, you can be quick to answer.
It's vital to bring out your true personality in headshots because if you don't, none of the headshots will be true to you and real. The most important part of a headshot is that it represents you truthfully, meaning it shows your personality truthfully and your look truthfully.
There are plenty of ways to shoot so that someone looks totally different than they really are, and unfortunately, shooting headshots is much more difficult than clicking the shutter. A good headshot wont show a false personality or make someone look better than they normally do by showing them in special lighting or from a great angle.
You must have a headshot that represents who you are, and you must also act in projects that you fit into well. Its good to expand your range when possible, but engaging yourself in projects you are suited well for will result in an exceptional performance as well as more jobs in the future.
So make sure your headshot represents you truthfully, both in your personality and the way you look physically.
I love photographing actors because they're very fun types of people. Typically, whenever I do a headshot, I meet a new actor and we end up staying in contact for a long time after the headshot session. This is great for me for 2 reasons:
1. Adding another actor to my contact sheet allows me to have future people who I can work with on the films that I make.
2. There is a chance that they will either come back to me for another future headshot session, or they might refer one of their friends to me. This helps me out as headshot photography and shooting weddings is the only way that I make money, especially during these bad economic times.
The biggest reason that I love shooting actors for head shots is because I love photography in general. Having a fun time hanging out with someone and talking about all sorts of film and television and theater related things throughout the headshot session is just a bonus. Every single time that I meet a new actor, my headshot photography skills increase and I always learn something new. Not only do I learn something new in relation to headshot photography, but I also may learn something new in relation to a new acting school, or a new acting style, or new plays that are coming out. The other great thing about it is that often I get invited to plays that the actors are performing in.
In general, I would have to say that shooting had shots is a very fun activity: you make new friends and you meet new people and you have a fun time doing it. I also really love having the opportunity to give someone something that can help them further their career. This is one of the reasons that I offer so many actor self-promotion tips on my website www.cityheadshots.com. I love to help out whenever I can.
One of the most important, yet overlooked aspects of headshot photography is located within the actual camera settings that the photographer uses. Something that I only learned recently is the importance of actually making adjustments in camera, as opposed to adjustments made in post production, on the computer. There are 2 primary reasons that I highly recommend shooting out of camera the way that you want the images to look.
1. By shooting the head shots with the correct camera settings before hand, it saves you time and energy from having to make all those adjustments later. Additionally, the camera will usually get you a much better look and results than making those adjustments in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe light room. It was actually really interesting because lately, I've been trying to figure out the differences between Nikon cameras and Canon cameras. for some reason, it seemed to me that the Nikon camera would be more washed out and would not look very filmic as compared to the Canon camera. I could not understand why, and I worked hard to create Photoshop actions that would make the Nikon camera images look more like Canon images. After much experimentation and shooting a test headshot session, I came to realize that the difference simply lied within actual camera settings. Nikon offers what's called Picture Controls, and those picture controls make it very easy to completely adjust the way the images look. For instance if you adjust the white balance during the shoot, the images will look much more natural. Whites will still be true white. However if you use Photoshop to adjust the white balance later on, whites will no longer look white. They may look are injured or blue. And in turn, that will make the images look much more processed and fake.
2. The 2nd reason that shooting head shots with the correct settings before hand is superior is because it allows the client to instantly be able to use any of the images on the CD. In the past, when I would shoot extremely washed out in order to preserve the maximum detail, many clients would ask me how they can make the images more contrasty. Of course, when I would edit the images, I would use Photoshop to make them look more punchy. However if a client wanted to use the rest of the images that were on the CD and were edited, they would need to make those adjustments themselves. Shooting with the camera settings in the correct contrast range would allow the client to have many more images to choose from, and the would most likely look much better than what the client would be able to do, adjusting a contrast filter later on and without the assistance of a professional.
Due to these 2 primary reasons and a few others, I ultimately decided to shoot with the correct camera settings before hand. Then I can burn a disc of all the images to give to the client and they will be happy with the results. If you are a headshot photographer, I highly recommend that you use this approach if you want to satisfy the most clients and actually be able to increase your headshot photography skills faster. What do I mean by this?
By shooting with a higher contrast range, it is much important and that you hit the exposure spot on, otherwise the image could easily be too bright or too dark. Therefore, needing to be that much more accurate will make you a better photographer in the long run.
Hopefully this tip will help you out as a headshot photographer. I know that many headshot photographers who read this site still have more questions, and if that is you feel free to e-mail me at: Martin@mjbhomeentertainment.com.
In this article, I plan to give you some great poses that can be used for headshot photography. Actors sometimes complain that oppose that they're put in by their photographer doesn't feel natural, however after seeing the image, the actor agrees that the photo looks good. There are many different pose options available, however certain poses must not be used if the actor feels noticeably uncomfortable, and that feeling of uncomfortableness is manifested on the film.
Let us begin to discuss the different poses that you can use for headshot photography.
1. Three-quarter stance, arms crossed or in the pockets, head pointed towards the camera, and chin slightly down. For more of an effect, you can turn the actors had slightly more to the opposite side, opposite of the direction that their shoulders are facing.
2. Direct on stance, arms again crossed her in the pockets, had pointed directly towards the camera, and chin slightly down. Typically, women with their chin down look better than men with their chin down. However, to get the most realistic portrayal of the actor, the photographer should assume a high of 5'7" which is a standard height for most of the population. The actor should stand straight up and look directly at the camera. This type of shot will assume the most typical angle that an actor is looked at by. In turn, this will result in the maximum possibility of the actor looking like they did in the headshot when walking into the audition.
3. Sitting, either leaning on something or sitting straight up. The photographer should shoot from a slightly high angle for women and a slightly low angle for men.
4. Squatting on the ground and leaning towards the camera. The photographer should shoot from a low angle, squatting as well. At least 75% to 80% of all actors who I've shot with manifest an enormous amount of confidence in their smiles when they are in this position. The stance is a great way to really bring out the confidence in a headshot, which is what will really make a headshot be chosen.
Hopefully these 4 poses will help you out as a headshot photographer. You should practice them whenever you get a chance and learn how to make them look very good. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions at all. My e-mail address is Martin@mjbhomeentertainment.com.
What makes one headshot better than another headshot? There are actually a lot of things that can determine this.
Between lighting, color, background, expression, actors face, Photoshop work, character, and many other things, it is very difficult to determine what makes one head shot better than another headshot. In my opinion, we should not judge head shots based on the technical quality. We should assume that if you're going to hire a headshot photographer, they will know how to shoot head shots technically correct. Therefore the difference lies within the expression on the actor's face.
Since the 1950s and 1960s, head shots began to gain traction in the entertainment industry. They were shot in black-and-white and typically used simply to show an actors look to a casting director before they were called in to audition for a role. At that point in time not many people could afford to hire someone to shoot their head shots, therefore it was a very uncommon that most actors had head shots. However, those that did have head shots were much more likely to get great roles and become well known in the future.
These days, it is much different ballgame. Every single actor and his best friend has a headshot. Well, not really, there are still many actors who don't have head shots not only just because they can't afford them but also because they don't even understand how important they are. If you are one of the few actors who does not have a professional headshot, you can automatically count your acting career as over. Any actor who does not have a professional looking headshot that truly shows who they are in the image will not stand a chance at making it in this industry. If the casting director knows that you don't have a professional headshot, they will assume that you are not invested or willing to take much time to develop your acting career, therefore they will assume that you won't want to put much effort into their film or project either.
That being said, all head shots are not created equal. After 2 or 3 headshot sessions, most actors begin to realize that certain headshot photographers are much better than other photographers. What makes a good headshot photographer different than a bad headshot photographer is the ability of the photographer to bring out the actors true emotion in any headshot.
Most novice actors who haven't had a professional head shots taken before see their head shots and think to themselves that the photos don't look very nice. This especially applies to women however, because they usually have a very particular way of looking at themselves. They may only like to have their photo taken from in a certain angle, or under certain lighting conditions. Obviously, its human nature to want to look good, to attract members of the opposite (or same) sex. Therefore, when having one's head shots taken for the 1st time the novice actor does not understand how important it is that they look as realistic as possible.
It is the job of the professional headshot photographer to make the client look as realistic as possible. Your headshot should look exactly as you do in real life: if you are ugly in real life, then unfortunately your headshot should be ugly as well. This all has to do with the idea of branding. The entire concept of a headshot is based on the idea of branding, which is a marketing tool used to immediately give the viewer a sense of who you actually are. If you are ugly and real life, and your headshot makes you look beautiful, then a casting director who called you and will be expecting some beautiful to walk through the door, and when you walk in looking the way that you do in real life, you'll get thrown out right away.
Actors must be able to accept this unfortunate discrimination. Due to the nature of acting and needing people who look certain ways, this discrimination is found very frequently in the acting and entertainment industry. A professional actor can deal with this discrimination and understands that based on the way that he or she looks, she will best be suited to submit to roles that work well for her.
To some all the above information up, what makes one headshot better than the other is that the best headshot will show an actor as they truly are both physically and emotionally. The headshot photographer will additionally be able to use supporting scenery or backgrounds to help enhance that image.
Every once in a while, as a headshot photographer, you're going to run into a client who doesn't like the results of the session. There are number of ways to deal with a client such as this, and it all starts with recognizing and accepting whether the mistake was yours or not.
The most important part to dealing with the problem is truly finding out why the client is angry. You have to understand that although you may think that the client's claims are ridiculous, in the client's mind their claims are absolutely not ridiculous. If they were ridiculous in the client's minds the client wouldn't be making them. Therefore you have to get to the bottom of the primary issue.
Whether the conversation takes place over the phone or in person be sure to clearly asked the client what the problem was with the headshot session. Make sure to ask that if they didn't like the photographs, what the specific part of the photographs was that they didn't like. Any client can come up to you and tell you "I didn't like the pictures." But the problem is that you won't understand what you did wrong or whether the problem can be salvaged until you know specifically what the problem is.
Recently I had to deal with a client who was unhappy with the way her pictures turned out. She told me that she showed the photos to her acting teacher, and her acting teacher said that all the photos were unusable. Of course as soon as a photographer hears something like that one of many emotions may go through their head. They may get angry that the client is insulting their work, they may get offended that the client is insulting their work, or they may get extremely worried that they are not as good of a photographer as they thought they were. Therefore it is imperative that you asked the client specifically what it was that they did not like about the photographs.
In my recent case, the client said that her acting teacher told her that I didn't do a good job of bringing out her true personality in the head shots. On top of that, the client started giving me all kinds of reasons that the head shots were bad. She mentioned that the lighting wasn't good, that her poses felt unnatural, that the head shots appeared washed out, and that her hair was very frizzy and sweaty in the photos. Immediately in my mind I suddenly felt as though I had failed. I felt horrible that I let a client down and didn't do as good of a job as I typically do. Of course, every photographer is going to get a client every once in a while who has a problem with the photos. Throughout my years of doing headshot and other photography work I've only had 2 clients who've ever come back to me with complaints, and both of the clients had been shot on rainy days outdoors.
The most important thing that you can do as a photographer is not to dismiss the client's claims and not to accept them as true, without verifying them and thinking about all of the other things that could disprove their claims. However the objective is not to say I'm wrong you're right, But rather to determine whether the mistakes were actually yours and whether you can either learn from them or actually fix them.
In my case, I immediately looked at every single note that the client had made. Follow me along these steps:
1. Bad lighting
2. Unnatural poses
3. Washed out images
4. Sweaty and frizzy hair
5. Not capturing the client's personality
When looking at each of these, I began to group which ones together were related. Numbers 1 and 2 I can get rid of right away, because the lighting actually was not bad and the poses were actually not unnatural. Additionally, I made sure to mention to the actor during the session that if she ever felt uncomfortable or unnatural and oppose that I positioned her in to be sure to tell me. Whenever a client questions me on something of the image that I'm not particularly sure on I will be sure to ask either ex-clients or friends to judge the photo as a third-party. In this client's case, the bad lighting and the unnatural poses were not as bad as she thought that they were.
Number 3 could also be removed automatically because the reason that I shoot images with the washed out look is so that I have the maximum opportunity for tweaking them later on in Photoshop. If I were to shoot head shots with great contrast before editing them in Photoshop, I would lose all that detail and not be able to get it back.
Number 4 was unfortunately something that we could not control due to the circumstances. Because of the rainy day/extreme humidity, both the client and myself were sweating while we were outdoors. In our phone call prior to the headshot session, I recommended that the client shoot a different day if we were to shoot outdoors because I new that there was rain scheduled for that day. since she needed the head shots right away and had scheduled them for the very last minute, she was unfortunately unable to move the session. Therefore we had to deal with the terrible weather while shooting outside.
the 5th thing from the list above was the only thing that I can actually understand that I was wrong in. Unfortunately I never took the time to speak very much so the client and really try to understand what her personality was. Instead, I simply asked her what type of shot she was going for and what type of look she wanted. She told me, but not knowing the true details of the client's personality is not going to make the head shots come out very well. We got the looks that she asked me for but never got any looks there were true to her personality. Later, when showing the images to her professor, she was told that she should've gotten shots that showed her true personality. And then she came back and blamed me for that. I will take responsibility however because it is a headshot photographer's job to make sure to capture at least a few images with the clients true personality just in case they are needed.
Unfortunately this headshot session was not a success. However every time that you as a headshot photographer have to deal with an unhappy client, you should make sure to take notes of what things you can improve your work on. Remember that every failure will equal a greater success in the future. You learn more from failures than you do from successes, therefore every single time that you fail, you should be open to receiving the criticism so that you can be sure to learn quicker. I gave the client a partial refund on the session and offered to do a free reshoot to which she declined. I don't know which had shut photographer she will go to in the future, to get her next headshot session, but I do know one thing: she will find herself paying way more than $400.
Hey I'm Martin, and my goal is to help you reach yours. I love writing content about career advancement, marketing strategies, productivity, and much more.