Corporate Headshots - My Process
Time is Of The Essence
When on site my process is the same as my studio. So often I'm shooting in conjuction with some event that brought a large number of people to that companies Atlanta location. So I work as quickly as I can. I've shot as many as 125 heads in a day following this process. So I've learned to work fast yet deliver a great product. Headshot work is all about direction and light placement. It's critical to individualize both of those.
For every subject I adjust the key light height. There is no set up that would permit a photographer to not make some adjustment for the individual standing in front of their camera. It's a game of inches. Direction in posing adjusts for the individuals anatomy and fine tuning the lighting is critical to success.
I shoot tethered to a laptop into a program called Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. I take test shots of each subject and I adjust the lighting so it best suits them. Once the lighting is set we do a short set of takes. Then we look at the takes on my laptop. This step is so critical in terms of direction. The reasons are:
- It gives the subject confidence because you hardly ever see yourself in professional lighting set just for you. Invariably I get a positive reaction that instills confidence.
- They begin to understand what I call "the game of inches". I can show them what half an inch of chin height and 3 inches of shoulder turn does.
- I've just developed a bond with my subject. We're now a team with a win/win as a mutual goal.
- They go back to their mark more confident and understanding the direction process better
Post Production - Cull
After the shoot I bring the images back to my editing suite and cull them. I then post the images on a proofing gallery on a private url on the internet. For most of my location shoots it would slow the process too much to choose on site. People usually are excusing themselves from meetings to come to me for their headshots on site.
After the selection is made I retouch the image using Adobe Photoshop. All the work on my website is retouched by me personally. Retouching is a broad term. In terms of "beauty" retouching (retouching skin) and minor clothing fixes, I am considered by my peers as an expert. I study I stay on top of the most current techniques as Adobe adds algorithms. I'm a perpetual student of retouching. Seeing my subject in person, getting to know them however briefly, usually gives me enough insight into how they want me to handle their retouch. Of course suggestions are often made as they view their takes on the laptop. I see the retouching as part of my job and I think there's great advantage in being a photographer/retoucher.
Delivery is made via Dropbox or Thumbdrives. Some networks will not interface with Dropbox due to security concerns. The financial industry is especially this way. In those cases someone often accesses the images off site on a personal computer. Or I can mail a thumbdrive with the images on them.