New Corporate Head Shot Technique In Photoshop

Phlearn has something ridiculous like 500 free photoshop tutorials to help you polish your images. This tutorial series, so far, has been one of my favorites. Aaron Nace, the founder of Phlearn, shows us a new technique with custom brushes for giving your subjects a unique corporate head shot look. This tutorial is a 4 part video series, enjoy.

There are so many ways to position your subjects, set up your lighting, deal with skin tones, and apply texture and tone in Photoshop. Aaron Nace, AKA the Tony Hawk of Photoshop, has given us some mighty helpful tips on making custom brushes to not only smooth out your subjects skin texture but also preserve the details with a new process (for me) by taking the high pass filter one step further to preserve the mid tone skin texture as we see in part 2 below.

Part 2:


Part 3: 


Part 4: 


Final Images of the Phlearn Staff:






fstoppers_corporate headhsots_garywmartin-1


What do you guys think of the post processing on these images? Comment Below.

Other Workshops from Aaron

Creative Live:

To see some more of Aaron Nace making magic in photoshop, check out a CreativeLIVE workshop Aaron and I just did last week on commercial photography production and post production.

Fstoppers Workshops:

Aaron will also be teaching at the Fstoppers Bahamas Workshop this May along with Rob Grimm from my studio. Check out more info here:

Gary Winchester Martin's picture

Gary W. Martin is a commercial photography producer and founder of PRO EDU. His company creates documentary style Photography and Photoshop tutorials with some of the best photographer/instructors in the world. Gary has spent 20% of his life abroad and once made a monkey faint in Costa Rica. He speaks English and Romanian.

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This is one of the best vids that Phlearn has posted. Love everything about it. Awesome results.

so please tell us.... what is awesome about that video?
typical hippster "awesomeness" inflation? everthing is awesome he? :-)
i see nothing you can not do better with frequency serparation..... and that method is quite old.
i see the reason such tutorial sites have to come up with new ways to do things.
in the end they want to sell tutorials. but the new ways are often not better then the old ways.
if you mean the images are awesome... well yes they have a certain look that appeals to me too. they are sure nice.

whoa jan! who peed in your cheerios?

did you watch the episode? its basically the same thing as frequency separation just in a different order and with a custom brush...

Umm, no. I don't have to convince depressed people who spread negativity on the internet why I liked a video. Go cheer yourself up and put forth some effort into making this world a better place instead of verbally vomiting on the efforts of others.

Saddist... There are people who enjoy this!

Hey Bert Parts 2 and 3 are out and online here. Cheers

havent watched the vid.. all i did was quick scan down the photos, but i love the feel of them and the tones!

the skin retouching video is imo nothing special (the endresult) and i sure would not do it that way.
i stick to frequency separation.
but im really looking forward to the tutorial where he explains how to achieve the overall look.

Love the Phlearn videos, you may not learn a ton from each video (or you may depending on your skill level) but you may often pick up something of value, and each little nugget adds up.

Very cool technique ... thanks for sharing yet another great tutorial.

What kind of light did you use ? :O this look amazing

He used Paul C Buff's Einsteins ( ) I got myself a pair fo the AlienBees 800, great lights.

I'm sorry my question wasn't clear, what was your light setup for those shot :)

hi alex, the whole setup is explained in the video 1... :)

One of his better phlearn videos. I rather quite like the f11 exposed images. Not everything needs to be photographed at 1.4. Aaron's use of custom brushes is great and a wonderful education to many viewers. I like how he approached a genre of photography in a way that interested him, making the work itself, more interesting.

One of the best headshot videos I've seen in a very long time. I've been shooting the corporate headshot, traditionally and editorially for a very long time. Never seen anyone use a V-Flat for fill light. I thought that was very clever. It's a great quality of light, but perhaps a little awkward to set up on location at a corporation. The end result speaks for itself and I've been inspired to mix it up on my next shoot! You CAN teach/inspire an old dog with new tricks!

My only question is about the main light. Traditionally, you want a nice catchlight in the subjects eye from your main light. It's important to have that light coming in as directly as possible, but careful not to have too much angle. The forehead can get really bright, really fast. Especially with older guys that don't have a lot of hair. Why the V-Flat instead of an umbrella or reflector underneath for fill?

Also, the tip about shooting remotely is killer. I do this all the time and it really does engage the subject more. Kind of like using a cable release with film cameras (back in the day). That style of shooting portraits was the hallmark of all the great portrait studios.

Just wondering how different a plug-in like Portraiture would perform? For high-end jobs I can see the benefit of this fantastic method, but do you think using Portraiture can be pretty good for lower-end jobs?

Here's a GREAT video on retouching. Lee Varis specifically addresses shiny skin, but he shows the split frequency technique.

split frequency = frequency separation, which can be done before this if you feel like it to give more clean-up, it's just another way of retouching and finding a style we like.

good link of yours too Randy btw :) thanks for sharing.

Avoid retouch plug-ins, they just ruin the image. This is a fast (probably fastest) and easy way to retouch portraits in general. High-end retouching takes far more time to polish..

While I appreciate the overall coolness of the shoot and the setup (kudos to the phlearn team, as always!), I don't like the way the subjects are being posed. I do a lot of corporate portraiture and I never sit my subjects down. Peter Hurley (as shown here on fstoppers) explained why: Not only is the jawline less than ideal, more importantly, the interaction with the viewer and the overall "feel" the subjects convey doesn't really work for me.

I like my subjects to appear very active, open, engaging - so I have them stand up and actually take a step in my direction. This way, their faces point in my direction (I prefer shooting without a tripod, so that I see what the viewer gets to see), they drop their camera-facing shoulder and thereby avoid the double chin issue, and, last but not least, they believably convey an open and friendly attitude. I do realize the phlearn team wanted to give this thing a more editorial feel, but in all honesty, I think this is not working very well for corporate portraiture.

Keep up the great work!

What I like most is the casual style of the "posing". The lighting seems flattering to the subject. Not sure why the photog chose to shoot everything in landscape view, but perhaps he cropped in the selected shots. I do not see the images as "corporate". Corporations generally need shots of their staff looking into the camera. I don't see them wanting to go with this looser, editorial style, as much fun as it is.

Wow ! J love this way of color correction. J had to try this. It`s my result:
J changed the way of lighting : Key light: BD 70 cm , Fill : Octabox 150cm , back : bowl
Thank you for this video :))

Awesome tutorial as usual, but does anyone have the scatter brush, i suck big time at making it... can't get it right. would love the help as aaron states he is giving it with the tutorial.

Thanks a lot,

First off, I have the deepest respect for Aron and his seemingly unlimited abilities in Photoshop!
But am I the only one who think these headshot have got too much in PS?
For me this is no longer a photo, but looks more like a (extremely welldone) animation.
Maybe it's becourse I am European, but I would like to see a little more human in these people!
Please let me know if anyone agrees or for that sake disagrees :)
With the deepest respect!

These are some images that me and a fellow photographer came up with a few months back. We used two speed lights directly on the subject for a key and fill with a constant dimmed light on the backdrop. We shot with Canon 5d mk iii and a Canon 5d mk ii with a Canon 50mm 1.2 and a Canon 70-200 2.8. We also did not use any frequency separation methods for the editing. Simple healing brush and clone stamp for blemishes and basic color correction with a bit of a matte feel to them.

Thanks for sharing, I am definitely trying this

this man is increible!!!!

I am looking to do something like this in a couple of weeks and will need to be renting some gear, was wondering if you might be able to provide a complete gear list for what you used in this shoot. And secondly was wondering if about the pocket wizards, how many did you use here and I'm unfamiliar with the remote trigger pocket wizard, can you please list again what gear was used here as well?? Would LOVE to hear back asap! :) Thanks!!

Thanks for the great video. Can anyone tell what the brand and model of the cool adjustable boom is ?
I like the way it is easy to position.
Interesting use of the v-flat, but I wonder about shooting people wearing glasses.

how do you sample color from Layer 1 while working on the trasparent layer 2? when i try this, it just gives me a black foreground color. Do i need to change my layer preferences?