If there's one thing to know about building a strong portrait portfolio, it's knowing how to capture a great head shot. There will be an occasional abstract portrait client, there may be some sporty portrait clients, but if a photographer is looking to capture new clients, they have to know how to capture a great head shot.
Head shots are appealing to everybody, whether they're in need of a new social media profile image or they're looking to revamp their look for their "About" section in their new autobiography. Let's dive into how to create a simple and classic head shot with only two flashes, some FlashBender 2s, and a reflector.
The best thing to have on hand is a gray background. Many photographers will choose between black, white, and gray, but gray is incredibly appealing because the photographer can choose to light it to make it appear it's natural color, underexpose it to make it appear black, or use a Rogue Gel to change the color completely.
In this video we're going to simply allow the background to go underexposed to make it appear black. Let's use those lights to light our subject rather than the background. First we're going to set up the main light with a Rogue XL Pro Reflector part of the Rogue FlashBender 2 XL Pro Lighting System. By bending the reflector, we're going to allow that light to wrap around to the shadow side of his face, and because the XL Pro reflector is large its going to create a nice soft light on the subject's face.
Even though the light wraps around to the shadow side of the subject's face, we still want to use a white reflector to create an even fill to bounce back in to the shadow side. This eliminates dramatic contrast and gives him an inviting look.
Finally we're going to add a hair or kicker light to separate his head and hair from the dark background. Because we don't want light spilling all over the image, we're going to roll the Rogue FlashBender 2 Large Reflector into a snoot so to focus the light on one spot on his hair.
As mentioned in the video, photographers will often encounter subjects that wear glasses and prefer to wear those glasses in photographs because people identify them with glasses. In those instances it is important to remember the law of reflection, in that the angle of incidence will match the angle of reflection in the opposite direction. In these situations, try lighting the subject from the opposite side and use broad light (main light side of the face, facing camera) instead of short light (shadow side of face facing camera.)
With two flashes, a reflector, and a few Rogue FlashBender 2s, you can achieve studio quality head shots for any situation!