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Old Aug 5, 2003, 6:00 PM   #1
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Default Shooting Headshot with 10D

FYI - I'm a vetran designer/art director that happened to have bought a 10D SLR. I love this camera.

I'm going to try to shoot a head and shoulders shot of a client of mine. Since I'm not a pro shooter and don't have a studio set up at all, I was looking for a couple of pointers from you all. I only have one lens, a 28-200 AF and the 420EX Speedlight Flash. I have a pro back drop that I scanned in a ways back, so I'll composite him onto that later.

I will have the freedom to try several things. I assume I'll try the portrait preset and see how that one goes first.

Thanks for any help. Oh, yeah. I'm shooting at 10 am tomorrow! :-)

Alex
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Old Aug 5, 2003, 8:22 PM   #2
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For head shot portrait a very pleasing effect is achieved by using indirect window light as a softbox source. Shoot from a position were the window light is in back of you and over your shoulder. You may need a white reflector to fill shadow side of face slightly.
Watch that the highlights are not blown out. Try to get the catch light from the window in the upper left or right of the iris of the subject's eyes.
On-camera flash is not going to give you a flattering portrait unless its used as a bounce light off of ceiling or wall.
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Old Aug 5, 2003, 8:29 PM   #3
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Something I forgot to mention.
Use your lens in the 50 to 100 mm range which will give a more realistic facial image. Working outside of this range will tend to exaggerate facial features which may not please the client.
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Old Aug 5, 2003, 10:51 PM   #4
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Alex,

You'll get pretty good results using the portrait setting. This setting provides a white balance that yields very pleasing skin tones. I have used the same combination 10D and the 420EX flash with very good results. One problem with the portrait setting is that you can't shoot in the raw mode and you can't select the single mode shot selection. Sometimes you'll accidently take several photos at once. You'll need the flash to put catch lights in the eyes. The flash also will help with auto focus if the lighting isn't bright. If you decide to switch to manual mode, make sure you have the proper white balance setting selected.

Good shooting! Bill
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Old Aug 6, 2003, 12:30 AM   #5
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Just a warning about the AF system on the 10D. It is perfectly legal for it to lock the focus on the edges of the DOF. So if the model is turned so their left shoulder is 1/3 of the way towards you and the head is turned and then you focus on the face, it is prefectly correct of the camera to focus in such a way that the shoulder would be out of focus (the edge of the DOF would be slighty in front of the face, but it doesn't extend out far enough to get the entire shoulder.)

It probably won't happen much (and a larger fstop will help widen the DOF to make the chance of this very small) but it can happen. So if you have a really good shot take several with different AF locks (i.e. release the shutter completely and push it again) to make sure you get the shot.

I haven't had this problem with people (I don't do portrait work) but I've had it with stationary birds. Really annoying.

Eric
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Old Aug 6, 2003, 1:13 PM   #6
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Default Thanks For Your Tips!

Just wanted to show the fruits of YOUR tips. I shot my first real headshot and he loved it! Specially when I took out a pimple on his neck and whitened his teeth!

I posted a room shot that I took a while back (with your tips as well) and the head shot at http://www.blackrockcommunications.com/canon10D/

Keep in mind, the head shot was against a while wall and composited in Photoshop. The EXIF info is included as well.

Thanks again!
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Old Aug 6, 2003, 1:30 PM   #7
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I am no expert with portrait work, but I like both those shots quite a lot.

Well Done!

Eric
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Old Aug 6, 2003, 4:36 PM   #8
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With the Canon 10D, the best lens for portrait head shot is probably the 85mm F/1.8, the 100mm F/2.8 or the 100mm macro can do well also. Be-sure to apply the rule of third and position the eye line properly. If you want to see the real examples, just rent any movie, and see how they frame the tight head shot scenes, you learn more if you watch movie and pay attention on the photography and art directions, or just watch TV shows. Cheers
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Old Aug 7, 2003, 9:54 AM   #9
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Alex,
The client is what counts in the long run. Very good shot in general it looks like you used window light with flash fill. I find that most people don't like too much skin and hair detail but your client is young enough to not have too many defects. I'm 66 and I need soft focus for sure. Your interior shot is excellent. Good color and exposure balance between window light and floor lamp and floor reflections. This photo ranks right up there with Architectural Digest Magazine photos..
Ted
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Old Aug 7, 2003, 10:28 AM   #10
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Thanks Ted! Actually, you WILL see that room shot in Architectural Digest (and Fine Home Building, Beautiful Homes, European Homes)!!! My biggest client is a exotic hardwood floor manufacturer (that species is Tigerwood) and thanks for that great compliment.

You know, I didn't even consider using the new diffusion filter I bought. I may have sharpened it too much when I made that low res version. Also, in magazine printing, images tend to get soft since the dots used in print is nowhere close to the continuous tones you get in real photography, so I tend to sharpen one-click too much.

Thanks again for your help.

Alex
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