Headshots for the Sackville Photo Club

Seeing as how I've been borrowing the Sackville Photo Club's lighting equipment for various photo shoots lately, it seemed fair that one of the organizers of the last meeting asked me to bring along my camera to do some portraits for the incoming executive team.  What I didn't expect was that I would shoot basically the entire team!  

Not that it would be a technical problem (one light setup for everyone), but I knew that the challenge was in getting a useable shot from each member of the executive that they were happy with.   I basically had about five minutes with each person, which is hardly enough time.  Luckily, I know most of the people anyway so getting a fairly natural looking headshot wasn't too painful.

Here are some important things to remember if you are getting a headshot done for a professional package, such as business cards, company publications etc.
  1. Relax.  Deep breath.  It's only a picture, and the photographer is there to help make you look your best.  When they tell you to tip your head back, or to the side, it's not to torture you, it's to help you look good!
  2. If you want to smile, think of something you think is funny, or try to remember something that will help you feel good.  
  3. If the photographer is operating in a space where you can see the process, observe it.  Watch how the photographer interacts with their sitter, what kind of actions are expected.  It makes it so much easier if you walk into a set with a clear idea of how it works and what you might want to try.  
  4. Don't be afraid to have a little fun.  As I said before, you're only getting your picture taken.  
  5. If you know you'll have your photos done, be sure to wear your favourite shirt, jewelry or other items that will help you feel more confident.
  6. Guys: Shave.  If you have a beard, trim it.  
  7. Girls: Makeup shouldn't be overdone, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't wear any.  The camera can be ruthless on skin, so feel free to do foundation, cover up, and some clean mascara (no clumps).  
There are tons of resources online for how best to prepare for shoot, but I wanted to cover some basics.  

If you're interested, here is the lighting setup used on the photos above.  As you can see, it's a three-light setup with a softbox as my key, umbrella fill on the right and a gridded deep reflector acting as a rim/hair light.  For the photos, I shot exclusively with the 85mm lens, somewhere around f/8.