Bringing Creativity to Headshot Photography

With the advent of a highly accelerated culture, a creative patchwork for visual representations has been widely opened for us. Today, we’ll briefly discuss some easy to perform ideas for bringing some creativity to your headshot photographs, so keep on reading!

Use some Practical Lighting

Inspired by the evident disapproval of Stanley Kubrick for studio lights, we’ve made practical lighting our main tool for creative portraits and headshots. The basics are mighty easy to grasp, one simply needs to use any light source as creative aid when composing each frame. By doing this, one is capable of creating images that look natural and full of character, rather than the clearly faked out results from regular studio lighting schemes. Take a look at this video in order to understand more about the narrative and creative power practical lighting has in photography. But that doesn’t mean that we are knocking off the table the act of shooting with mounted or external flashes. No, we are just suggesting that there are a huge array of other light sources that can be used when shooting our portraits; meaning that flashes are just another light tool in our creative tool-box rather than our main working angle.   Portrait of a man in China Town with neon lights  

Mind the Clothing and the Background

Unless one is doing just tightly closed-up headshots, clothing and backgrounds won’t matter too much. But since we are certain that isn’t the case, thinking about these visual elements will add a creative layer of something to your well-intended photographs. This idea sounds quite easy, but it requires a bit of visual education (or good taste if you wish) in order to pull out in a decent way. The best thing one can do when starting out is to rely on color palettes

Man before graffitied wall
Pro Tip: there are tons of color palette generators, but due to its simple layout, this one is our favorite by far.

Use Slower Shutter Speeds

Not everything has to be perfectly still when it comes to doing headshot photographs. Try slowing down your shutter speed by a bit, and get creative with some intentional movements from both your camera and subjects. When doing this, remember to keep your camera mounted on a tripod for smooth effects. Creative movement doesn’t imply erratic and crazy vibrations, after all, the intention of a headshot image is to retain a huge deal of a person’s most identifiable traits, it’s the face. Also important, don’t go too slow on that or you’ll end up with nasty blown highlights in your shots. Something between 1/8 to 1/30 of a second is a nice baseline to start with, but eventually, you’ll find your own sweet spot for this. And last but not least, you can also use some of your lens’ zoom to achieve an even bolder result! headshot in front of blurring bus

Use Creative Lenses

Creative optics like the ones manufactured by LensBaby or Petzval can add a completely different look to your shots, but keep in mind that some of them are quite pricey, even after being completely manual to operate.

Black girl with dreads, tilt-shift portrait
A true tilt-shift portrait with a selective focus on the part of the face of a dazzling young black woman with a dreadlock sitting outdoors on a bright day, with a copy space place on the left

Use Multiple Exposures

And just like slow shutter speeds, using multiple exposures is also a great way for adding a bit of creativeness to your current headshot photographs. Our suggestion though is to use only two images when creating them, more than two will result in some weird and confusing results that take away the real purpose behind a headshot portrait.

Black girl with dreads, tilt-shift portrait
Double exposure of a handsome young man with a smartphone

So, as you can see, these weren’t your regular follow-up tips and tricks; and the reason why is simple. All these previously shared ideas have the power of constituting the firm ground in which your own upcoming concepts and ideas could flourish in a more consistent and aesthetic way. Meaning that will prepare the road for your own style to finally see the light!