Here are a couple of professional headshots I did recently in Vancouver. The organization that contacted me wanted to have photos done for an upcoming conference and for the web, but I only had about 4 days to get the shots done and ready to go. We decided on an outdoor location in the courtyard right downstairs from their offices. There are a couple of cafe’s there and lots of people, which made finding a clear background a little tricky. Moreover, there was a strong breeze that day coming in from the harbour, and the narrow courtyard funnelled the breeze through like a wind tunnel. Fortunately for me, there was one corner of the courtyard where things were a little calmer, so that’s where I set up for the shots.
For these headshots, I used one Elinchrom Quadra RX light inside a Westcott Apollo Orb softbox. I had originally planned to use a two-light setup, but I found one wall with some reflected sunlight that added depth and texture to the shot, so a second light wasn’t necessary. I tried to match the output of my Elinchrom Quadra head to make sure the natural light reflecting off the brick wall behind the subject was at the proper levels (i.e. not too over or under exposed) and used a Singh-Ray 77mm Vari-ND filter to allow me to open up the camera’s aperture, thereby throwing the brick slightly out of focus – which helped to give dimensionality to the overall image.
Windy locations are never a good place for headshots, so this session took a lot longer than expected. One of the subjects kept blinking in sync with the flash, thereby making it very difficult to get a good shot with eyes open. The wind also made it uncomfortable for the subject to keep eyes open, not to mention hair blowing all over the place. I eventually got the shot I wanted above, which were edited in Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop CS5, and cropped.