Do you doubt you can pull off a headshot shoot simply because you don’t have a studio? Don’t! With your skills as a photographer, there are simple ways for you to achieve a “studio look” wherever you are.
5 Tips to Take Headshots Without a Studio
No studio? No problem. Headshot photoshoots don’t automatically mean going to a studio; you can take headshot photos on-location. Below are tips about equipment, location, background, angles, and poses that can let you create a mini studio wherever the shoot takes you.
1. Scout for Locations
Creative headshots for a client’s event? Head to an industrial art building with high walls. A simple headshot for your friend’s startup business? Look no further and maximize the space in your garage. Quick headshots for your family’s album? Go to the nearest park.
If you’re still saving up for a photography studio or in the beginning stages of your photo business, it’s crucial that you know how to take advantage of available space where you can shoot images. As long as the spot is appropriate for the peg or vibe the client wants, you can capture stunning headshot photos.
2. Find and Manage Light
Another reason why you need to scout a location is to determine if you need to add or modify the lighting for headshot photos. If it’s not yet time to upgrade, there are two ways for you to find light:
- One-Light Setup: This standard setup involves placing a strobe to the right or left side of the subject. You’ll also have to put a reflector under the face and another one opposite the primary light source. Use the reflector to add catchlight in the subject’s eyes or fill in shadows on the face.
- Natural Light: Manipulate natural light by letting it bounce off a surface. In this way, you can add depth to your headshots. Keep the light coming from above so that the shadows under the chin can emphasize the jawline and hide double chins.
3. Be Creative With the Backdrop
Even if you have no paper or vinyl studio backdrops, you can still take amazing headshot photos using cloth backdrops. Always bring pushpins, clips, and monopods so that you can easily hang and style the cloth backdrops according to the theme.
In case you don’t have cloth backdrops, assess your surroundings to see if there’s something you can use as a backdrop. One way is to position the subject in front of a solid-colored wall, then stand a few feet away from the subject to avoid unwanted shadows in the image.
4. Learn How to Direct Poses
Some clients don’t know how to smile or where to look. Hence, it’s your job as a photographer to help showcase the assets of a person’s face. Likewise, communicating with clients is an essential aspect of fulfilling a shoot.
Assist the client and give specific instructions on how to pose. You can also show the pose so that they’ll have a visual guide. For example:
- Move a shoulder forward and slightly down.
- Tilt the head in the opposite direction of the shoulder in front.
- Remind the subjects to keep a straight posture.
- Direct the fingers upward if the hands are above the waist or on the waist.
- Turn the face a bit to each side and see which side looks flattering.
5. Experiment with the Composition
Even if you’re doing headshots in a single location or using the same backdrop for several subjects, angle variations can make each headshot unique.
The best way to do this is to turn on the grid lines and apply the rule of thirds. Position your camera that frames the important elements, such as eyes, nose, and mouth, along the lines.
Aside from pointing straight in the subject’s face, try taking shots up high or down low. Be mindful of how the background and foreground impact the focus.
With the right ideas and some practice, you can capture beautiful headshot photos even if you don’t have a studio. Use the tips above to hone your craft and master the art of taking headshots.