Quite often when a company rebrands, builds a new website or hire new staff I am called to come and take their head shots. Other times they are just looking for a refresh. Its often several years between head shot sessions as its very difficult to get all the staff in one place at one time. As a Belfast photographer I have worked with a lot of different companies and helped them update their head shots. Hagan Homes fall in to the first bracket, they were wanting to update their head shots because of a new website in the works. There were two important things passed to me during the briefing stage when talking to my contact. The first was that the images must be shot on site and the second was that the staff in the images must appear friendly. Hagan Homes understand how important their staff are. They are the face of the company and a positive and friendly attitude needed to be portrayed with the staff i had to photograph.
I visited the Hagan Homes team in their Ballymena office several weeks ago, thankfully just after the delivery of a new 85mm F1.8 G lens. I was really happy that the new lens arrived as i wanted to make sure the background of the head shots were milky smooth. This is called bokeh. I would shoot most of the head shots at F2 or 2.2. I know that this lens can drop to F1.8 but as i was hand holding the camera and wanted to make sure i didn’t loose focus. F1.8 is very shallow and i couldn’t risk the images not being properly focused. Even the slightest movement from me or the subject would mean un-focused images.
So that was the lens sorted. I would use it on the D3s body. I have a D600 but i just prefer the handling of the D3s, not to mention the screen which is far superior to its new rival. The next item on the agenda was lighting. For most of my shoots i use a mix of umbrellas and various snoots mainly because they are quick to put together and take down. When I have time I always opt for a soft box. The light is just so much more smooth and controllable but it takes a little longer to set up and take down. It is also tricky to use outside as it is quite a large piece of kit. Because these head shots were inside i would use a 30″ soft box and a Gary Fong snoot.
All images were shot in RAW and edited in Adobe Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CS6.