Michael Coen's picture

Hannah N. Headshot #2

Hey everyone. I'm looking for some constructive criticism for this image. This is my first shot at ditching the strobes for natural light using the translucent portion of a 5-in-1, forty-something inch reflector for my key light, and the silver side of a small reflector for kicker. At first glance I really liked this image, but there are a few things that I do not:

1. Catch-light in her eyes is almost non-existent.
2. The squaring of her shoulders makes her look imposing.
3. Hair-light way too hot.

Where else do I need to improve? Just give it to me straight, I really need some good quality feedback. Thanks in advance!

- Michael

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David Apeji's picture

I agree with your observations. I am assuming you know how to address them. Given that you used a silver reflector as a kicker, I am surprised it is not more evident in her eyes. My personal taste would be to have her hair behind her, either that or have in on both sides in front.

Michael Coen's picture

Thanks for your feedback, David. I appreciate it. Hair always seems to be one of those things I tend to forget. I used "kicker" and "hair" light interchangeably here. You wouldn't see it in her eyes since the reflector is behind her.

Matthew Coulliette's picture

The title says that this is a headshot, however the picture is a portrait of someone. This is a personal hang-up of mine; I don't like it when photographers don't know what is and isn't a headshot. I recommend studying the work of top headshot photographers like Peter Hurley or Dylan Patrick.

Michael Coen's picture

Hi Matthew,

I am familiar with both Peter and Dylan's work. I appreciate your comment, but I really am seeking constructive ways to improve my photography. Your comment is that this is not a headshot, but it doesn't really give me anything I can use to improve my work. Are you able to provide me with an explanation as to why this isn't a headshot? Thanks.

I agree with Michael. I always thought a headshot was a type of Portrait. Why does it matter that he called it a headshot instead of a portrait? Can she not use this pic as her headshot?

This is in fact a headshot. It's just not a CLOSE headshot. It's not like these terms have an ISO standard definition - what is and isn't a headshot is defined by what casting agents and sites will take as one.

A shot at this range ***which shows the face clearly*** is in the range you can see accepted if you check the casting sites. The more so if you need to take the extra room to show hair style, which was the case here.

I'm really impressed by your self criticism!

4. Cheeks appear rounded - get her to open her mouth slightly or at least unclench her teeth, maybe lower the camera, google "its all about the jaw"

5. Her left eye is open more than the right. Can be fixed in post. Google for how.

Michael Coen's picture

Thanks for the suggestions David. Never would have thought about slackening the jaw a bit. :)

Yogendra Singh's picture

I would have asked her to stand at an angle to the camera.