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Two-Light Standing Pose Headshot with Male Model

Lesson 17 from: The Business of Professional Headshots

Gary Hughes

Two-Light Standing Pose Headshot with Male Model

Lesson 17 from: The Business of Professional Headshots

Gary Hughes

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Lesson Info

17. Two-Light Standing Pose 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

Two-Light Standing Pose Headshot with Male Model

And I flipped my background around, to the other side, so now we're on the dark black, slash low key. We're gonna do a couple of cool things for this. I'm going to show you one light, and two lights. So the biggest difference, the biggest difference, is that we absolutely have to have some kinda separation, with our subject from the background. Where we've got our model, Charnie, who we just photographed, who's got that dark hair. If we don't do something, to separate that from the background, it could like bleed into it and lose all detail. And at the same time, we've also got Oscar, who's also got dark hair, so we have to figure out, how to separate our subject from the background. So we can use the same exact equipment, in a different configuration, with one light, and use all these reflectors, to be our separation. And then, we can flip around, and then we can use our main light, on the boom, and flip it around and make that a hair light. There's a lot of cool stuff we could do. Or...

, we could use a second light on the ground, and throw a little light on the background, to give us a little gradient, that's gonna separate our subject from the background. So we have a few options, these are stylistic choices. Just like we talked about before, you have to know how to do things a bunch of different ways, cus every time you're going to come at it, you're going to find some kind of different challenge, whether it's gonna be the distance from the background, because you're in a smaller room, or somebody who's taller, or somebody with a weird shaped head. There's all kinds of stuff that you could run into. We had a question I wanted to address on the camera angle, as relative to the subject from the last segment. Typically, I'm going to look at the subject, and I'm going to decide the heighth of the camera, and the angle of the camera, based on the feeling I'm trying to get from the image, and the look I want. When we were shooting Oscar before, and I was doing those, horizontal landscape orientation images, I was slightly lower than him, and one of the reasons I can do that with him, is because one, he's got a very defined jaw, and he's fit, so he can handle a little bit of a lower angle, and it also gives him a little more of an imposing look. Think about it like this, you ever seen Rocky? Anybody seen that movie? It's a movie that was popular at one time, starring Sylvester Stallone, as Rocky. Anyway, did you know he wrote and directed that? And won an Academy Award for that? Isn't that weird? Like Sylvester Stallone, from the Expendables. (laughter) Won an Academy Award for that. Anyway, great film, but one of the things in cinematography, angle creates emotion. And so, whenever you see Rocky is doing really well, and he's winning, they're shooting him from below. To give him that larger-than-life appearance. And whenever things are bad, and he's kicking a can down the street in his sweatpants, you know, you're gonna see a defeated, a slightly higher angle, to diminish somebody. If you want to diminish somebody, or to make them a little smaller, or flatter somebody, put the main part of their body on an angle that is, going away from the camera. Then you want to be little high. If you wanna make somebody look a little larger than life, you're gonna take a slightly low angle, even get in a little closer with a wider lens. There's a lot of stuff that you can do. If you take anything from this, besides all of the amazing stuff I've already told you, if you take anything from this as far as shooting goes, you have to learn to shoot with intent. You should see what you're going to shoot in your head, before you even turn your camera on. You should never be looking through the camera, composing the shot, and thinking what you're gonna do. It should already be in your mind. The camera that you're using to make the image, should already be in your head. The composition, the feeling, the angle, all of that. So when you pick up the camera, you should pose, light, and compose the image, before the camera is in your hand. One of the reasons I use a tripod, I don't want to use that as my crutch. I already know what I'm going to go for, and every setting I choose, angle I choose, it's all going to have a specific purpose. And so, that's why I was shooting a little bit low, and then I didn't have to adjust too much. But for Charnie you want to shoot a little bit higher. Very rarely, are you going to want to take an extreme low angle, on the ladies, they won't thank you for it. Also, if somebody has large nostrils, it's really a bad idea. Like large nostriled people, I wasn't looking at anybody in particular. You're all like my nose. (laughter) You all have beautiful nostrils, you really do, I've never seen so many beautiful nostrils in my whole life. Okay, so what I'm going to do here, is start with our low key modern kind of look. And I'm going to use kind of the same glamour lighting, we were using before. And I'm going to use these reflectors, to create an edge light on the subject. So what we're going to do, is I'm going to pull these out, we're going to start with just the main light, and add the reflectors in, one at a time, to kind of show you what each one does. Does that make sense? Everyone cool with that? Okay, let's get my man Oscar back out here. Okay, cool. (mouth noises) So where can I put these where they won't be in the way, of the crew here. Put them back here. It's funny, I just spent like 10 minutes, setting all that up and now I'm moving it again. So, what we're going to do is just take our main light, and our background. Just so you don't think I'm cheating. Alright, so Oscar, dance with me. This way, perfect, alright! (laughter) Just a little bit this way man, alright good. Okay so he's squarely going to be in the center, I put more distance in, so here's what we're going to talk about compression, lens compression a little bit. If you're using a wider lens and you're close, okay, your image is going to end up off the background. So when you're using a smaller background, portable for head shots, and you're putting a lot of distance, between your subject and the background, a longer lens is going to enable you, to keep him on the background. And you can see it just with your naked eye, when you walk up to him, he gets larger, and the background seems to get smaller behind him. And as you walk away, he gets smaller, and the background seems to get larger. That's how the compression is going to work. So that he stays on the background, and if you were using something this small, you would definitely want to make sure, that you're zooming in to get that compression. Okay cool. So let's just do it. So this is going to be pretty atrocious, just this light by itself, but I just want to start. We're going to construct the image from scratch. So since he can handle it, we're going to go a slightly low angle, which is I'm going to kind of shoot into chin level. Good. There we go. Perfect, okay. Zooming in. Alright, so these are all just test shots, so I'm not worried about, these are all for instructional purposes, so I'm not worried about engaging the subject at this point. Alright. (shutter clicks) Okay. Perfect. Okay. So that exposure looks pretty good, but what you're going to see, just like when we were doing it before, with the classic muslin, is that this is just what the lights hitting, the naked light by itself. Okay. So you've got some really cool stuff about this. I really like the light, the way it falls off, and when you're using a small light source, like this as your main, somebody with great bone structure, like Oscar's got, if you notice when somebody comes in, that they have a good chiseled cheek bones and a jaw. This is a really cool way to highlight that. Because you see it's the mask of the face is bright, and it falls off, and you start to be able to see the shape of his face. Even with a flat light, you can start to see his face take shape. But we've got a couple of problems. The edges of his suit, are going to bleed into the background, his hair is going to be hard to discern from the background, and underneath his chin, there's a lot of darkness going on there. You're going to get blocking up, which is going to be pretty ugly in the final image. Alright, so let's do a couple of things. I want to use this, to add the first, hold still, you're next. To add the first edge light. Alright. (shutter clicks) Boom. Okay. Gonna need a little closer I think. Keep it going. There we go. This is why we can't have nice things you guys. Alright perfect. (shutter clicks) Okay. There we go. Now we're getting some separation on the one side. Alright, so now, again, with these reflectors, I'm not going to get typically, like super hot edge lights. I'm going to get some definition. Enough to separate him from the background. So the point isn't necessarily to make it super edgy. The point is so that I can see along the line, and the suit and the tips of the hair, on the side of his head that I can start to see. Where that his hair ends, and the background begins. Let's take another one. There we go. I'll move this up a little. Here we go. Okay. And again, we're shooting head shots, so even though that seems really close, here we go. (laughs) Okay. (shutter clicks) Here we go. Okay. And now the final piece is gonna be to bounce that light up. And this is also going to throw even more light, careful, onto the reflectors behind it. There we go. Okay. So now we've boxed him in. Okay. (shutter clicks) Oo, there we go. Now we got some highlights kicking. Here we go. It might even be a little warm. Go down. Okay. I like a little bit of the darkness, so I don't want to fill this in a crazy amount. But you can adjust the reflection with just the distance. So you don't have to mess with your light. There you go. Boom. So there you have it. You can see the edges of his hair. Again, with these reflectors, with this size light, you're not gonna get a hot edge, but you're going to be able to see where he ends, and where the background begins, which is what I want. And now you can see this light underneath. Can we pull up that last image and the first image? If we can do that, so we can compare what we've built. But what we've got here, is a really strong modern kind of a look. And you're going to see a huge difference, just adding the reflectors. And we're still just using one light. I think that is not the first one and the last one. The very first shot, with just the one light, and then the last one that I just took would be great. So, again, if you go, there we go. So if you go a little too overboard with this reflector, and Lena, like you asked before, this might be a good time to use a reflector, that's a little more subdued. If you've got too much coming from underneath, it can be overwhelming on the subject. Judge that distance a little bit, but right there I've got everything, everything I've got in the first image, except now you can see the definition of where he ends, and the background begins all the way around the outside. And you can see definition, in all of the shadow areas on him. So he could actually be pretty easily, extracted from the image if you had to. But I kind of like the way this looks. I kind of don't want to mess with it. So let's, I want you to put your weight evenly on both feet, for me Oscar, there you go, perfect, alright. And you're going to turn just slightly this way, yeah. Perfect. Bring your head back here. Chin down a little bit. There you go. Relax those shoulders just a touch. Hook those thumbs into the pockets. There you go. And bend towards me just a touch. Right there! Man that's awesome, really good. Here we go. Alright. Nice and relaxed face, just for the first one. I like that, just let me see what I'm getting, and see how you're doing. Cool. I think that's going to work really well. Excellent. And now we're going to work on the expression. So let's do four to six shots in a row, and when the camera, when the light flashes, they're going to come two to three seconds apart, let's change that expression a little bit each time, okay? And I can, when actors and models and stuff, when you shoot them, you don't have to give them a super amount of direction. But I got him in the position I want, so all you have to do is work your face a little bit. So start relaxed, warm up as you go. I really like that thing, where you look like a roguish pirate captain, there's a really good look you have there. Okay. Perfect. Okay. (laughter) Okay, here we go. Are you ready? Let's do it, here we go. One. That's perfect. Give me a couple more like that. Lower the chin just a little bit, tilt a little bit that way, lean to me, and lift that chin a touch. Relax those shoulders just here we go. One and two. I'm digging that. And one more. Okay, look at me, complete relaxation. Let your lips separate just a little bit. Stay there. I'm going to adjust my light just a touch over this way. Here we go. And I might go back up with the reflector. Yeah, that's the one! Often times, the first or the last frame are the one I want. Go ahead Sheldon. Are you refocusing every time or is it - No, at this distance, even shooting at F4, you've got a pretty generous depth of field, with that focal length, so I choose when I'm using a focus point, if there was a live view I could show you, I put it right on his eyeball, and then I hold it. Or you can back focus if you're a back focus person. And I don't have to be behind the camera. I want to engage, I want to look at what he's doing. Perfect. That's great. Good. Alright, now I want you to face me square on. Perfect, alright. I'm going go this way a little bit. A little less, right there. And I want you to do this is a cool trick. You have jeans on right? So put your thumbs in the back pockets of the jeans, this gives you a little more of an open, broad look, alright? And it's also sort of the executive kind of, there we go, so I focus and I stay focused, I'm not refocusing every time because my eyes not there. So I don't even have to be looking at him, I know Oscar's beautiful exactly like he is. He's probably got that sexy, misty look in his eye right this second. (laughter) This guy, alright, perfect, okay. You see where we're getting, is we're getting this really cool modern look, on low key and you actually don't even see this a lot. This is really cool. But let's add one more little, go ahead Cliff. I was gonna ask, is it possible that you could show, without the feather, how you feather light, just with it with center, just a comparison. Absolutely you can, I mean, I can tell you what you're gonna get, is you're gonna get probably, just I'm going to adjust my settings, one because it's not feather, and you're going to get less fill. So if this is actually bouncing a lot of light up, because it's mostly pointed down, if you feather up, you're still going to get bounce, but you won't get as much. You'll get a little more direct, and not as much from underneath. So that's a really easy adjustment to make. But yeah, I'll see if we can do that. If this will stay. Aw, aw, oh. I can't reach up there and tighten it right now. So let me do this one thing, and I can probably do that on the next set-up. You know, brought the light more in the center, instead of, you know how you go off to the feather, just as a comparison. Well, it's pretty dead center on him right now, you're talking about like moving it this way? Oh I didn't know if it was dead center, cus before - It's hard to see from where you are, but it is dead center on him. When he turns his body out, and you start to see the shadow on the far side of his face, that's because his face is turned out of the light. The stream of the light is here, and his face goes that way, and the back side of the image, which is the far side of his face, starts to go into shadow, if that's what you mean. But that is dead center. Hard to see kinda from your angle, but that is absolutely dead center. Alright so let's do one thing. I'm going to add a little bit of a cool, kind of a gray gradient onto the background. Where did we put my stool? I stuck it over here somewhere. Alright there it is, got it. Wouldn't that be so awesome if I had tripped earlier, and just totally beefed it on Creative Live? That would be so cool. (laughter) I know a couple of my friends that are watching, that would have really loved that. So what I'm going to do, is I'm gong to zoom the flash head a little bit, which kind of acts almost like snooting it. And then, I don't necessarily want a ton of power. What I want to do is just create a nice like, gradient behind him, that's gonna give me a little bit more depth. And I would like to also point, out still that we are still using speed lights, which is pretty cool. You haven't gone out, and bought all new strobes or anything yet. We make an adjustment to the power level. Hey there you are. Group. Boom. Boom. So let's start it at an 8th power, I'm going to have that at half the power, I have at the front. I suspect that I might have to bring it up a little bit. Alright let's just do a test shot real quick here Oscar. Boom. Okay. Alright, it's little too much, but they go that way. Group B. Down to 16th. Okay. So I'm now operating it, ooh. (making excited noises) Pretty cool. There we go. Not too shabby. Okay. It's like a Batman promo. (hums Batman promo song) Okay, here we go. Focus, boom. Okay, now I've got something really cool. What I want to do is, make a small adjustment, I'm going to lower my ISO, because I'm at 125 to 100. And I'm going to open up to F3.5, because I want a little more shallow depth of field. Man that's starting to look really cool, isn't it? So you're doing a really cool, low key image, and now you've got a natural gradient, that's going to create some really cool depth. And he separated even more from the background. So this actually works as an alternative to having, a hair light, an edge light, an edge light. The point of those is to separate him from the background, and now you've done that with just one light. And you get this cool natural gradient, that brings you into the image. When you're looking at an image, it's important to craft an image in a way, that tells the person looking at it where to look. And so naturally, your eye is gonna go to the point of highest contrast. And you can corral people into that area with a gradient. You've got this really cool, natural gradient around the image. Where if you showed that to somebody out of the camera, you might actually get accused of over-vignetting, in Photoshop or Lightroom or something, which is kinda cool, because you'll ha, no I didn't, I did that in camera. So I use this look all the time. This is a really good one. So let's do this, Oscar, you're a beautiful man. I'm going to go ahead and kick you out now. You're all done. Give Oscar a hand everybody. (clapping)

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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