Chris Gagné

Delight people. Create value. Do good.

Tag: headshots

Headshots for Friends

I took headshots for two students in Chloë’s General Assembly UXDI 30 class and for a friend of my neighbor, Susanna.

First Chloë and I took photos for Stephanie. They spent several hours designing and creating the set, including the items taped to the wall and the contents of the desk (our dining room table).

I used my Canon 5D Mk II, a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM L Mk II, three mains-powered strobes, a Canon Speedlite, and various umbrellas and softboxes. I typically shoot at 50 ISO, 1/160, f/10: the low ISO means low noise, the 1/160 is within the flash’s firing window (if I shoot at 1/250 or higher, part of the image is black due to the shutter closing too soon), and my lens was measured to be sharpest at f/10 using Reikan’s FoCal software. However, we wanted a shallower depth of field for these images. No decrease in ISO or increase in shutter speed was available to compensate, so I added a circular polarizer filter to act as a neutral density filter of sorts. It worked well enough and I was able to shoot at f/4 or so.

These were shot with four lights: two mains-powered strobes with 2’x3′ softboxes lighting the background, a Canon 580EX behind a white 24″ umbrella acting as the optical trigger and hair light, and a big beautiful umbrella/softbox hybrid on a mains-powered strobe for the key light. I love that light because it is big and soft enough to use as the only front-illuminating light on the model. (The only other light on the model is a hair light.)

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I’m told that my Macro 100mm f/2.8 IS USM L is supposedly a sharper piece of glass. I don’t use it for portraits, however, as I find the focusing too slow and prefer focal lengths close to 135mm. Oh, also there’s something oddly satisfying about hefting a piece of glass that big… it is a favorite of paparazzi everywhere for a reason!

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Here’s Charlene, Chloë’s other talented protege.

Charlene was interested in a dramatic, high-fashion, relatively low-key shot. She was also interested in a 3/4 body shot rather than just a headshot, which meant that my usual trick of using my projection screen as a backdrop wasn’t going to work. I brought out the stands and started with black fabric. Charlene returned with a black top which I thought would be challenging, but the lighting worked. We used two hair lights: the Canon Speedlite behind a 24″ umbrella and a mains-powered strobe with a standard reflector dish. The left side of her face was illuminated with the 60″ umbrella, while the right was illuminated with a 2’x3′ softbox. DXO OpticsPro 11 software was used to process the RAW images into 16-bit TIFFs. These were brought into Photoshop to use with Google Nik Collection plugin “Color Efex Pro 4” software, where subtle skin softening and occasionally a Skylight filter for any needed warmth. I save the edits back to the TIFFs, create high-quality JPEGs, and give everything to my model on a DVD or thumb drive. I don’t charge anything.

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Here’s Susana’s friend Vanessa, who was most interested in a headshot. Same lighting and workflow as Charlene. I like how her scarf provides the form of her figure in the second photo as her dress was extremely dark.

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Headshots for Jackie and Catherine

I took photos of my friends Jackie and Catharine. Feedback always welcome!

Equipment:

  • Canon 5D Mk II with Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS Mk II USM @ 140-150mm
  • Strobe with 60″ octobox umbrella as key light
  • Canon 580EX Mk II through white umbrella as hair light
  • 150″ white projector screen as backdrop
  • A pair of strobes with dishes to light the backdrop (when white)

I did a little bit of very light post processing in Photoshop using Google’s Nik Collection.

Jackie

Jackie3 Jackie1 Jackie2

Catharine

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Some headshots

I did a photoshoot with my good friend Genevieve Kayat a couple of weeks ago. Here’s a couple of shots we came up with:

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These were shot with a Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, two basic strobes with ~2′ x 3′ softboxes, and a third strobe as a hair light. I shot at 50 IS0, 1/125, f/9. I had black muslin cloth in the background, but I almost didn’t need it as the lights from the strobes fell off very quickly (inverse-square law).

I did post-processing using Photoshop and Google’s Nik Collection, starting with the Raw Presharpener (Sharpener Pro 3), noise reduction (Dfine 2), darkening/”destructuring” the dress and right shoulder in the B&W portrait using Viveza 2, B&W conversion (Silver Efex Pro 2), and finally a last pass at output sharpening (Sharpener Pro 3).

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