Because of copyright issues, I cannot post the headshot I am referring to on this page, but you can see the exact image by clicking this link:
Donald Trump Headshot
First, what about this headshot works and doesn't work?
Let's work from the outside in, starting with the environment, moving to the subject, then m to the expression, and finally to the inner emotion and true self.
1. Black background: The background is intense, which is awesome, but it blends in too much with his suit and looks almost as though he is surrounded in darkness. I wish there were some sort of edge light coming from the right side of the photo and hitting his jacket to separate him, but maybe they were going for that effect.
2. Lighting: The lighting on his face is great. It's harsh enough to accompany his intense expression, but it's also soft enough to not create any harsh, distracting shadows. I find it interesting that the photographer chose not to use a hair or edge light. This creates a more intense overall feeling to the image.
3. Centered in the Frame: He is centered directly in the middle of the frame, which adds to the intensity overall of the image.
4. Crop: The image has been cropped so closely that most of the top of his head is cropped and part of his tie knot has been cropped. This also adds to the dramatic effect of the shot by making him appear larger than life and more menacing.
5. Skin & Retouching: This image could definitely use some retouching to soften up the darkness under the eyes and discoloration on the face. It does look as though his neck has been retouched, as you can see a harsh line around the jaw and shirt. Likely a double chin was fixed there. But because nothing else was retouched, chances are the lack of retouching was not a mistake, and done to increase the harshness and intensity of the image.
6. Expression: There is no hint of a smile on his face, and his chin is lowered down into an menacing position. His eyes are squinting to show intensity and confidence. It looks as though he is experienced on camera and knows how to give the expression he wants.
7. Inner Emotion: The emotion being portrayed in this image is actually the most interesting part (and usually is when you analyze a headshot to this level). If you look closely, although on first glance there is intensity built around this entire image, you can actually see, especially on the right side of the image (left side of his face), that he almost has a sad look in his eyes. The left side of the face is, according to numerous studies, the more emotional part of the face because it's connected to the right side of the brain, and this headshot is no exception. His unconscious emotion is coming across ever so slightly, and it gives us a glimpse into his inner self.
So many people out there see Donald Trump as an intense, mean, harsh person. It's funny, because this image conveys exactly that if you look at it briefly. We clearly see that Donald Trump and the photographer were aiming for a confident, intense look in every conscious part of the shot.
But a headshot can tell us a lot more than we think. Looking at this picture closely, the unconscious softness in his left eye (right side of the camera) shows that there could be a softer side to Donald Trump, something he is afraid to show. Is he worried? Is he fearful? Is he not completely confident in his own abilities?
Or is Donald Trump not who he is letting on to be? Is it all just for show? There is clearly an internal conflict going on in his mind, but I don't know what it is.
Do you have any thoughts?