I started out as a Belfast photographer purely by coincidence and chance. I happened to be in the right place at the right time and got talking to the right people. My first paid work was through Queens University Drama Department. I was asked to take some production stills for an interdisciplinary theatre project. From that came headshots. Several of the actors and actresses needed their headshots updated so I gladly helped them out.
Fast forward 5 years and i still have the pleasure of working with local actors by helping them with their headshots. To say my technique has improved is a bit of an understatement but all for the better. When I shoot headshots I usually have at least three of four speed lights plus many different types of modifiers in use. This makes for brilliant images but is slow and cumbersome due to the stoping and starting in having to change the equipment around. For Patricks headshot session I wanted to take it right back to simple.
Patrick was actually one of my first paying clients to ask for headshots. When i met him the first time i was crazy nervous, I mean he was paying me money to take photos of him. It doesn’t get much more personal than that. Thankfully we got on well and I got him some brilliant headshots. They were so good he kept the same ones for years, hence last week it was time for a refresh. Headshots are an interesting discipline in photography. Its usually just you and the subject with maybe an assistant to move gear. In my opinion its all about the chat. With headshots you have to be able to chat to your subject, you need to help them relax. You cant just start in to it straight away. The first batch of images usually are the ones that are never picked from the list. You need to shoot some images, talk a little and repeat over and over until you get a good selection of images. Some times the best way to get “that shot” is to have them talking whilst you photograph.
So as I said previously I always have three or four lights on the go but this time I wanted to keep it simple. That would be a softbox and a medium size reflector.
Along with the softbox and reflector I would shoot the images on my D3s with an 85mm F1.8 AF-S lens. Its a pretty good lens as it means i can shoot right down to F1.8. I would usually shoot headshots between F4 and F8 but i love going down to F2 with headshots. You get that lovely blurred background also known as bokeh.
So with me headshot sessions are simple. I will either come to you or book us in to a space. In Patricks case as he is currently residing in the MAC I met him at his office. Headshot sessions usually take around 1 to 1.5 hours and I charge £100. For this you get 5 edited headshots hosted on in a Dropbox folder with your own private link to the images.
I spent around 90 minutes with Patrick and I took around 150 images. I shot Patrick against several different types of backdrops that included concrete, black pop up, staircase and normal white wall.
Once we finished up taking the images I uploaded them to Dropbox so Patrick could pick his 5 images. For the last 5 years its usually been the case that all headshots are shot in black and white but I have noticed over the last 6 months that more and more people want colour. I believe this is because casting agencies and directors are getting weary of the super edited black and white images. They want to see the actor or actress as they actually are and we are not black and white, so colour seems to be coming back in to fashion.
Check out the final images below.
5x Edited Headshots = £100. If you want to update your headshots please get in touch here and I’ll get you booked in.