The Basics Of Head Shot Photography

Actually the thought and planning that the world renowned headshot professional  photographer Peter Hurley invests into creating  unique and amazing headshots isn’t basic at all. As a former professional model turned into a recognised working photographer, Peter Hurley knows exactly what it is like to be the face in front of a camera and on the other end – behind it. He has used his experience as a professional model to perfect his craft and was kind enough to share with us his insights into creating his signature images with us via a online seminar hosted at B&H Photo Video and this seminar was certainly a standout. Even after two hours watching the seminar is interesting, thoughtful and very informative:

Professional Photographer Peter Hurley is certainly capable of keeping things laid back and moving along. If you’re into improving your headshot photography skills, please make sure to watch the seminar video in full. There are countless and very rich bits of info spread throughout the video that can certainly help you progress as a professional photographer.

Here are some of the basic things to remember when photographing people’s headshots:

  • Don’t over complicate things – The only thing that matters in the photograph should be the subjects head. Photograph just only one person at a time. If you are not shooting against a solid color background, throw the background of focus so the eye is naturally drawn to the head.
  • Crop is King – Crop very selectively, it is better to crop out the top of the head than crop at the neck and shoulders, much like the photo below.
  • Rule of thirds – Always keep the eyes above the center line.
  • Remember to give direction! – It’s your responsibility as a photographer to make sure your photographs look the best the possibly can. This often means directing your subjects so that they are in a flattering pose.
  • Lighting – Peter Hurley uses Kino Flo continuos lighting on the photo subject and 2 Alien Bee’s strobes to light the background. He then throws in a kicker light  highlights. Hurley recommends using a square setup for women and banking lights 2-4ft on either side when photographing men.
lighting for headshot photography

Here is a suggestion to the ideal lighting setup for a stunning professional headshot photography.

headshot photohow to take headshot photos

One last essential piece of information that Peter Hurley said during the seminar can be said of any style of photographer. To quote him:

“A professional is at his best regardless.”