We get asked lots of questions by both our clients and other photographers about how we photograph headshots and what its like in the studio. We share some behind the scenes images on our Instagram channel (Click HERE to follow us) but we thought it was time for a video.
What happens at a headshot photo shoot?
Don’t worry, you don’t have to sit through a whole session. We created a time-lapse of a recent shoot with the amazing Nicole Simons (https://www.instagram.com/nicccbaby/). Nicole wanted a collection of headshots for casting of musical theatre and dancing work. We photographed purely in the studio and only for about an hour, but managed to create a range of different looks.
Hopefully, this gives you an insight into an actor headshot session with us. What you can’t see is the laptop screen where the images are coming up as I take them. This gives you instant feedback on the style and lighting of the headshots and you can have input on any changes you would like (often hair!).
Photography geeks, scroll down below the video for kit list
If you are interested in having new headshots, call us on 020 7523 5325 in London or 01275 568 669 for Bristol and the rest of the UK. You can of course email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Behind the scenes video of one of our headshot shoots
If you have made it this far, then I guess you are a bit of a photography geek and are interested in what cameras, flashes, etc that we use in the studio. I have tried to put everything that is in the video below. Feel free to email me on email@example.com with any questions.
I typically shoot at F4 at either 1/160th or 1/200th. My ISO sits at 100 or 200. I now also use a Tripod as it increases the hit rate for pin sharp images. Handheld was not as consistent especially at f4 and sometimes f2.8.
I have put links where I can below to where I bought the kit. None of these are affiliate links.
This video was filmed on an iPhone 7 Plus.
Camera and Flash Equipment:
Camera: Canon 5D Mark 4. I buy mine from Digital Rev (Click HERE)
Lens: Canon 70-200 2.8is Mark 2. Again from Digital Rev. My particular one, the little screws hidden behind the tripod mount come loose and have to be tightened frequently. (Digital Rev Link HERE)
Studio lights, Speedlights and Video lights
A note about Neewer Products: I absolutely love Neewer! I have many products from them from stands to Bowens mounts and now studio flashes. I have yet to be let down by them. The kit is well-built and arrives through Amazon very quickly. I am pretty rough on my kit as I travel to corporate headshots as well as actors and it survives well. I know that as a new brand to the market, you may well be cautious but so far, I cannot complain. I am in no way affiliated with them, but just love the fact that you can buy great quality photo equipment and not pay a fortune.
The Elinchrom equivalent to the deep octa in the video is almost 5 times the cost. It would have to be pretty special to be 5 times the light modifier! I believe that Godox are the same products but rebranded. For some crazy reason, I prefer the branding of Neewer.
Key light: Neewer S300N | I have only recently moved to having a powered light in the studio as previously just used Speedlights. I have this on power 2 (It goes up to 6). It’s great to have a modelling lamp rather than shooting blind. (Great light. Here is a link to Amazon
Key light modifier: Neewer 48 inches/120 centimeters Deep Hexadecagon Softbox. I properly love this modifier! I used the Godox 80cm before and still do on some location shoots but the quality of light from this is beautiful whether you use a studio strobe or a speed light. Here is a link to the modifier on Amazon
All other lights are Youngnuo 600EX RT triggered with a YONGNUO YN-E3-RT (The key light is on slave so triggers when the speedlights go off). This is the equivalent to Canon’s 600 EX RT and ST-E3 system but about 1/4 of the price. I do own some of the Canon flashes but I also drop them frequently or they get knocked in transport. At c£70 a unit, the Neewer onces are more affordable to replace.
The modifier on the hair light is a Godox 80cm foldable softbox. Great quality of light from a softbox that folds down into a bag. Amazon Link HERE
The video light used on Nicoles Hair is the Yongnuo YN-600 Pro LED Video Light. We spent a long time looking into different video lights and this one is amazing. Here is a great review of this and other equivalent lights https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcBb-MInwBc&t=1197s. Amazon Link for the lights itself
Stands and reflector supports:
I have collected various stands over the years from random manufacturers. The most recent ones I have bought which strike the balance of height and weight are the Neewer 9 feet / 260cm ones. They do the trick fine. Amazon Link Here
I get lots of questions about my reflector stand. This is a funny one as it’s actually a Triflector stand that I have had for years. I still have the three triangle reflectors that go on it but I prefer the light and the catchlights that come from on big silver or white reflector. The stand allows me to make a three-sided support that I simply lie the reflector on. Here is a link to what it looks like when you buy it: https://www.manfrotto.co.uk/triflector-mkii-frame-silver-white-panels
Photo Backgrounds, backdrops and other stuff
I have a wide variety of backgrounds and include printed vinyl ones which are available online through to making our own. We also use various materials, curtains, etc to create texture in the background.
The silver background is insulation board from Wickes (Link) sprayed silver and copper. These are 2.4m X 1.2m. I walked back from Wickes with these on my head as they won’t fit in the car. It can be fun when its windy!!! I spray them in various paints. With the ones featured sprayed with metallic silver like this one (Link)
Vinyl backgrounds come from eBay. You do have to trawl through all the awful fantasy backgrounds, etc but there are some gems there!