At some point nearly everyone needs a headshot. If you’re shooting at home be it of yourself or someone else, Here’s a few tips and techniques to help get you started with perfect headshot photography home setup.
The Basics of Headshot Photography
Before you get started you’ll need a few pieces of gear (or actually a lot of pieces of gear). I’ve created 2 versions below. One is a simple setup with minimal equipment and the other is the dream setup if you were in your own studio and money was no object (within reason, I’m not gonna go all Karl Tayler here….)
Regardless of your budget you’ll at least need the following:
Obviously you’ll need a camera. One with a hot shoe is best if you plan to use a flash. Trying to go handheld without flashes will almost certainly give you blurry photos.
Additional Photography Gear
You can use a dark sheet if you wanna go super DIY, but there are plenty of inexpensive options on amazon. One trick that pros use is a long roll of paper. You can get full length shots without getting a permanent backdrop dirty. When you’re done, you just rip it off and unroll more for the next headshot photo shoot.
The cheapest of the cheap is good ol’ white foam core. You can get it pretty much anywhere. Even my local Kroger has it in the school supplies section. Don’t worry about it being a little grungy or having a broken corners. No one will actually see it in the photos, we just need something big that can bounce light to fill in the dark spots opposite the main lightsource(we’ll talk more about the “how” in a minute)
Another great alternative are the sun reflectors you put up in the windshield of your car. I know it sounds good, but oftentimes they throw just the perfect amount of light onto the subject. I don’t get the accordion kind, I get the kind that twist into a little circle on themselves. They pack easy and get big in a hurry.
If you don’t have a flash you’ll definitely need a tripod. Natural light means wider aperture and probably slower shutter speed which could result in blurry headshot photography if you don’t have a stable surface for your camera.
Flashes / Strobes
Using flashes in my opinion is the best option. You don’t need a lot of them and they’re fairly cheap these days. I recommend Godox they’re really inexpensive compared to a lot of other and they’re solid little pieces of kit. If you wanna get fancy you can go with the AD200 which is SUPER choice! My fav!
For this option you’ll also need a flash trigger. I like to keep my systems all the same, so I went with the Xpro-C since I’m a Canon guy. If you’re a nikon guy (or gal) this is the one you want.
Continuous Lighting Kit
If however you want to use continuous light I’d go with something like this. The key here is to get something with LED lights. Speaking from personal experience, having to screw in, unscrew and store fluorescent bulbs every time you want to shoot is a huge pain in the butt. The LED variety are fast, fast, fast.