Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My First Experience Shooting in the Studio - Headshots For A Friend

So, one of my friends and favorite local musicians, Melissa Wright, inquired about my interest in shooting headshots for her. Having never done any studio work before, of course I was excited to give it a try. It took a couple of weeks to find a rental studio and get our schedules in sync, but we finally pulled it off.
 
(Click Here) to see all the full resolution images on my site, creativeobjective.com
 
We met at 9:30 on a Saturday morning, at which time I was still fooling with lighting setup. Both a little tense, we jumped right in and started shooting. I think the tension shows in the first shots.
 
Melissa, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 85mm f1.8 Lens
iso 100, f8, 1/250 sec
 
Melissa, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 85mm f1.8 Lens
iso 100, f8, 1/250 sec
Melissa, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 85mm f1.8 Lens
iso 100, f11, 1/250 sec
I've known Melissa for a few years now, so it didn't take long for us both to loosen up. With headshots, by the conventional definition, your main goal is to show a person's face, what they really look like, without cheesy grins or fake expressions. Once we both felt that we had that covered, my goal was to experiment a little, and see if we could capture a range of expressions. As I've read many times, the trick is to get your minds off of being on both sides of a camera, and capture the model in her own mind, thinking of things. I think we did that pretty well. You be the judge.
Melissa, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 105mm f2.5 AiS Lens
iso 100, f16, 1/250 sec
 
Melissa, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 85mm f1.8 Lens
iso 100, f9.5, 1/250 sec
Melissa, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 105mm f2.5 AiS Lens
iso 100, f16, 1/250 sec
Melissa, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 85mm f1.8 Lens
iso 100, f9.5, 1/250 sec
Melissa, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 85mm f1.8 Lens
iso 100, f9.5, 1/250 sec
Melissa, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm AF-D f1.4 Lens
iso 100, f5.6, 1/250 sec
Melissa, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm AF-D f1.4 Lens
iso 100, f5.6, 1/250 sec
 
Melissa is a very talented singer and strummer of many instruments. Her latest effort is called "Mink."
(Click Here) to see the Mink page on Facebook, and determine when and where you can see Melissa perform.
 
Melissa, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm AF-D f1.4 Lens
iso 100, f5.6, 1/250 sec
 
As you can see, I chose to shoot with my Nikon D700, 50mm/f1.4, 105mm/f2.5, and 85mm/f1.8 lenses. The studio was set up with multiple backgrounds (we used black and white only), two large light boxes, and a somewhat improvised hair light. It was also setup with a wireless trigger system. It took me a few minutes and tries to get everything right, but once that was done, I could leave it as-is and worry only about composition and getting the right expression. Focus was pretty quick and easy, even with the manual focus 105mm AiS lens. Because there was so much light, setting f5.6-11 for appropriate depth of field worked well.
I took a few shots with my medium format TLR, the Minolta Autocord, but it was really more of an afterthought, far into our session. I haven't gotten those processed yet, but my expectations are not that high. The Nikon really pulled through for me.
 
I found that I really enjoyed shooting this way. It is quite different than my normal shooting experience. I liked having full control of the lighting, and the challenge of capturing who Melissa really is. I'll do more of this as opportunities arise.
 
Thanks, Melissa! I hope the images are useful to you.
 
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