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Headshots - Before and After
A photographer is often much more than the person behind the camera. During the photo session, the photographer, with or without an assistant has many tasks to complete prior to the subject(s) arriving, especially for on-location photography such as professional corporate headshots.
(click on the photo to enlarge it)
Before the session starts
The lighting and backdrop must be carried to the location and set up, along with the backdrop stand and backdrop. Depending on the session, there can be as little as one studio light ("commonly referred to as a "hot lamp") and a reflector, or as many as four, even five studio lights set up to achieve the most even lighting and control shadows.
After all of the lighting is set up, the next step is to set the lighting for the proper exposure using a light meter. Each light is metered separately to derive the proper and desired exposure. Then they are all measured simultaneously to get the correct setting for the camera.
I like to connect, or "tether," my camera to my laptop during headshot sessions. Not all photographers do it, but I think it's a great way to work because it allows the subject to see his or her results seconds after a series of photos are captured, allowing us to make pose changes and ensure that the subject is getting exactly what they want.
After the session
After the session is over there is still more work to do for the photographer. This is when the photographer becomes a plastic surgeon and a dentist. Read more about what happens after the photography by clicking HERE. I often get retouching requests such as:
"Can you remove the wrinkles around my eyes?"
"Can you remove my double chin?"
"Please remove the fly-away hair."
"Make me look thinner."
"Make me look younger."
In the example below, the photo was pretty good to start with, but the subject made these requests...
"Do you think you could make my face a little thinner (but still normal looking)?"
"The same with my arm closest to the camera/back of my shirt (of course I'm overly critical but I see it as sort of hunchback-ish.)"
"Also this might be a longshot but I was wondering if there's any way you could make my hair appear thicker/more voluminous, especially on the right side?"
You can see the before and after results in the photos above. The before shot is directly out of the camera - it was only cropped appropriately for a headshot. The "After" shot has been retouched as requested.
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