I recently had a client call me and explain to me that she was pursuing stage / broadway play acting and trying out in New York as well, and needed a theatrical headshot in Nashville, where she lives. The look she was going for was different from a commercial modeling headshot that you would use for Nashville based agencies. We stuck with a non distracting selection of wardrobe and jewelry, and light makeup, a little dramatic smoke around the eyes / lashes. The expression and mood to be subtle, yet mysterious, dramatic, confident, full lips, and somewhat flirty. Overall, a little subtle drama with what’s going on with her expression. I don’t get many of these, mostly commercial modeling headshots instead but this was a nice diversion and a different look which I enjoyed. Of course I provided it in color for submission use, but also provided black and white because it had the presence of a past generation portrait of classic film actors / actresses. I think I like black and white better. LOL.
When shooting headshots, it’s good to leave some negative space to allow for cropping that is specific size related, as well as being able to change composition if needed, depending on accentuating a specific feature as to where it is on the frame. Lighting in the studio was rather simple but effective. I went with a medium softbox just slightly above her about 5 feet away from her face, at maybe a 15 degree pitch downward. I did this so that she would get nice catchlights in her eyes, as well as a gentle shadow to emphasize her jawline, but I did use a reflector to her right, to help prevent shadows caused by rim lights from her hair. The 2 rim lights were for her hair, one with a 10 degree grid, the other a 20 degree grid….the reflector being across from the 20 degree grid. This also made one rim light slightly more dominant, and prevented flat lighting. Just a little extra dynamic for the photo. I will post both color and black and white versions. For this type of headshot, or modeling headshots, excessive retouching is not useful. It’s purpose is to translate how that person looks on camera, and what they really look like.