I personally believe that everyone should have a good head portrait or head-shot done once in a while. These used to be the domain of performers, actors, musicians, but with the rise of social networks and online professional directories such as LinkedIn, your image is something worth considering. That said, I’m less of a fan of the traditional head shot, and while I certainly can shoot you in a suit and tie, my goal is to deliver images which reflect my clients personalities.
A few things I tell clients when coming in for their portrait session –
Stay away from white shirts, clothing with distracting patterns, or very large pieces of jewelery.
Don’t go too heavy on the makeup and style your hair the way you usually do.
Dress professionally, but comfortably – if you aren’t happy in a suit, you won’t look comfortable in the photographs.
Don’t sweat it if you have some skin flaws. I don’t do a ton of retouching on my work, but I do smooth over any temporary blemishes and can provide more extensive retouching upon request.
A session like this can take under an hour, but I like to spend as much time as it takes to get the ‘right’ image. Some of the people I photograph are performers who love the camera, many are business people who feel very uncomfortable with a lens in their face. Posing for a head shot is actually quite a bit more difficult than being photographed at a large event or party. The end results, however, always look quite a bit more flattering than that tiny ‘photobooth’ photo you’ve been using for your Facebook profile.
There are a ton of tutorials on shooting these kinds of photos, here’s what works for me. I use studio lights or natural light as the situation require. The two images above were both shot in the studio with strobes, the one on the right with two strobes + softboxes, the one on the left a single light with a silver umbrella. I also like shoot-through umbrellas for this. The images below were shot with available light and my trusty Canon 85mm 1.8.