Master the headshot
Simple, elegant and timeless, a good headshot can reveal more about a person than any other type of portrait
If you think of some of the world’s most celebrated and creative portrait photographers – names like Richard Avedon, David Bailey, Irving Penn – it’s their headshots that really stick in the memory. That’s because those pictures do something that all great portraits should: reveal the character of the subject.
From the neck down, one person may be pretty indistinguishable from another. It’s what’s up top that marks us all out as individuals. Our faces are our most expressive feature, and a good headshot should celebrate this.
Simple but effective
Compared to some kinds of portrait, the humble headshot might seem a tad rudimentary, but there’s an art to getting it right, and it’s an important string in any portrait photographer’s bow. Headshots are always in demand, whether it’s for a company website, school photos, passport pictures, or just for fun.
In some ways a headshot is a simple thing: you don’t have to think too much about composition or the background, as the head dominates the frame. But simplicity brings its own challenges, as it means you need to get the basics of lighting, depth of field and focal length absolutely spot-on. There’s nowhere to hide with a headshot.
However, the technical aspects are secondary here. More importantly, we need to coax something interesting out of our subject…