Wednesday, December 09, 2015
After years of doing location headshot work, I've built a headshot studio next to my office and a new website to go with it: Charm City Headshots.
While I love the hundreds of great images I get out of a marathon wedding shoot, sometimes it is fun to do a quick sprint. A headshot session is usually less than 30 minutes, and the goal is just a handful of great images. At a wedding, I am moving fast, capturing moments as they happen. With a headshot, I exercise fine control over the lighting and positioning, throwing a little more shadow under the chin, some extra sparkle into the eyes, coaxing a natural smile out of someone self-conscious of their wrinkles.
In both cases, the difference between good and great is psychology, reading people. At a wedding, I am anticipating moments, discerning relationships, keeping an eye on that kid who you know is going to do something naughty eventually, all while I photograph the slow dance with the couple who finally is starting to relax and have fun. With headshots, even normally self-assured and "powerful" people can turn shy. I see their insecurities and their facades, try to distract them, allay their fears and draw out their natural, confident expression.
It is satisfying work to make an image of someone that shows them at their best (without relying on excessive Photoshop, which isn't fooling anyone!) The moment the great image happens is often obvious. Things are going pretty well, the images are solid, and then.... magic!