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The Five Non-Negotiable elements a Client must ask from a Headshot Photographer

Hi folks.

It's been a while since I posted, but I have some new exciting blog posts coming up. This one in particular is directed to actors looking for a headshot photographer and that deem a re-shoot. Here are the five non-negotiable elements:

1. SHOT MUST BE IN FOCUS

Day after day I get clients showing me their current headshots, or some shots that they had taken that had been sent to them that were not in focus. By being in focus I mean, the eyes must be in focus. That is the key part of our face agents, managers and casting directors relate to. Moreover, the eye closest to camera should be in focus if only one of the two is going to be in focus. Never have the one closest to camera out of focus and the one furthest away in focus. 

Eyes are in Focus, Face is well lit, Shot is well exposed, Whole face dominant, shot in .raw

Eyes are in Focus, Face is well lit, Shot is well exposed, Whole face dominant, shot in .raw

 

2. SHOT MUST BE WELL LIT

By this I mean, you don't want any distracting shadows under your eyes, over your eyes, under your chin, under your nose... Some shadows are necessary to create depth in the shot, but too much is distracting. 

3. SHOT MUST BE WELL EXPOSED

Make sure that the shot that you get isn't too dark or too light. If it is, the photo may be ruined. Some of this can be fixed in post-production, but too much will definitively ruin your picture.

4. IT MUST BE WELL COMPOSED

This one is pretty self explanatory. It is called a headshot for one and only one reason. It is a shot of your head. No half body, with lots of space around it. You really want your shot to focus on your face and a bit of the shoulders. Within this composition, you will see stylistic choices. Some photographers prefer to shoot landscape, me for example, whilst others prefer to shoot portrait. How much of the head is left in the photo is also a stylistic question. Look at photographers that you like and look at the way they frame their heads. That will give you an idea of the look they go for.

5. IT MUST BE SHOT IN .RAW PICTURE FORMAT

Don't let them shoot jpeg. Demand that they shoot raw. If you don't, you may end up with a picture that needs retouching but is totally un-retouchable because Photoshop will ruin the image when adjusting things like color temperature, exposure, and skin retouching. 

 

If a photographer can provide these, then you are ready to go. Shop around and pick the one that you like best. If you go with them and the session does not accomplish the above 5 points, do not hesitate and demand a reshoot.

Best of luck and always remember to enjoy your session!

 

CANON 5D MKiii AND Magic Lantern

The Magic Lantern Team has done something amazing. They have unlocked 1920 HD raw recording on the Canon DSLR's, and have provided every owner of a Canon camera with the opportunity to shoot 14 bit video images. This is huge! For those of us who embraced the DSLR movement shooting in H.264, we had never foreseen this as a possibility. And now that we have used the module, there is no looking back. Most people don't talk about the benefits of raw in ways that we understand it vs H.264. There are 3 key things that impact on video work right away.

1. Better Resolution - because 14bit color tracks subtle differences in colors, this transalates into better sharpness.

2. Better Skin Tones - By far the most important of them all. The skin has a slow gradation from light to dark and makes the subject's skin look natural. This is the way original 35mm film behaves.

3. Better Grading Capabilities - With more information in color, we can tweet everything from color temperature, to exposure, to tints... to achieve the look we want. This gives you flexibility beyond what more expensive cameras like the Canon 300 give you.

Couple all of this with Canon's excellent sensors and low light capabilities and you have a beast of a camera.

Now run, and grab some high speed x1000 CF cards and start shooting unprecedented video.

 

Image Screenshot: Hunter Hampton