Using Auxiliary Lighting to Take Professional Head Shots

For these head shots, we were set up with three Alien Bee lights with soft boxes. They were positioned with one on either side (one of which you could swing away if necessary) and with one below to grab the catchlight in their eyes. Catchlights are important because they bring the focus to the eyes and can make them seem brighter and happier. By contrast, when your eyes are in shadow, or are “hooded” by your eyebrows, you can come across as withdrawn or unhappy.


Kade Head Shot


Using Auxiliary Lighting to Take Professional Head Shots

Plain backgrounds like this one work great for professional head shots because it can be used for anywhere and it is simple enough to keep the focus on your face. To find out “HOW TO GET A BLACK BACKGROUND IN ANY LOCATION” check out my post about how to use a speed light and trigger to get that effect.


Man in front of mountains and a lake reflecting the stormy sky

Although simple backgrounds can be ver versatile for a professional headshot, it might not express that much about yourself. Environmental photography, or head shots within the space that the person spends a lot of time, can help. In this image for example, I used a speed light and a rouge flash bender to get auxiliary lighting on the go. This could be a great professional head shot for a traveling photographer.

For more great examples of professional head shots, check out Daniel Simms’s work.

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