Model Portfolio Creative Headshot in Cape Coral Florida - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm f/7.1 ISO 200 1/100th - Strobist: SB-800 and SB-600 each in 42" brollyTuesday afternoon I met Lauren to make modelportfolio headshots for her right in her home in Cape CoralFlorida! All these photographs were made on location in her home allowing Lauren to make easy wardrobe changes. All shots were made on a white background and in editing color backgrounds were added digitally, as well as adding a pure white background for maximum impact.
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Many of my hundreds of photography students start out always centering the subject in the frame during our first lessons. That is understandable as they are busy learning my 5-step process for making a well exposed and sharp photograph in any given shooting situation. Once the technical apsects of photography take up less of the process of making a photo, then one can begin to focus on being creative, and the first step in that is composition.
The rule of thirds is a good way to start getting more appealing composition, but I like to think in two dimensions with the rule of thirds as well. By that I mean putting a major feature of my subject in a vertical thid and a horizontal third. In the above example of a model at the Dali Museum, the upper third and left third interset right by the model's face. Then the lower third and left third intersect by her hand and the melting clock. There is still a good amount of negative space in the frame, but that is put to the far upper and left parts of the photo. I would not want a lot of negative space on both sides of the subject (as in if I had centered her with no focal points other than along the midpoint of the photograph).
So the next time you go out shooting, especially a portrait, try putting a major subject focal point at a third and a third in the frame.
Katie is a new friend I have made in my brief time in Wesley Chapel Florida. For many years she was a professional dancer and on stage around the country. Now in her Wesley Chapel home she has her own dance studio. I went over on a Sunday evening to make some ballet dancer model portfolio shots in that studio and found out the real challenge of shooting in a room with a wall of mirrors! It took me quite a few different setup tries to eliminate or reduce lights and myself ending up in the background of shots. Katie also had the hard task of repeating physical ballet moves like the one above!
In this shot Katie takes a break from jumps and relaxes with a leg up. I tried out the bar myself and took two tries before I could swing my leg up on its own (no hand help) even though I am three inches taller than Katie! Range of motion is something I know I need to keep working on.
Not suprisingly, being on tip toes is not the most comfortable thing to do in the world. I realized quickly that my usual lens I like to use for model shoots, my Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D was not going to be practical in such a space, and switched to my Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens which was used for all the shots seen here.
Katie also uses her dance studio as a fitness and workout center. It was not possible to remove all things from the room, and they were too hard to remove digitally on their own, so in the above shot I just cut out Katie herself and put her on that digital background, which is actually a portion of a photograph I made at a car event (see the second photo from the bottom) that had cool red lighting.
We shot for quite sometime and Katie was great about repeating each jump & pose as long as needed to get just the right shot in terms of lighting, limb placement and composition. I got to learn just how challenging it is to shoot in a hall of mirrors and to be a ballet dancer!
In Florida especially, there is often harsh sunlight to deal with when making outdoor portraits. In the above example, I was working with a model on a portfolio shoot close to sunset time. Having such an abudnance of light, I decided to make it an element of the photograph. Putting the sun partially or entirely behind the subject can create a very strong, backlit effect. Depending on your lens and position, some lens flare may be visible and add yet another element to the image. I still used a speedlight off camera to frame right to help get enough exposure on the model then let the sun do the rest in the background.
Instead of fighting against the sun, try working with it to create unusual lighting effects in your portraits.
I always use a single focus point when photographing still subjects. Most of the time I keep that single focus point in the center, and the recompose how I want the final image to look. Of course for shooting still subjects I use AF-S (one shot) focus mode. So when making portraits using the settings described previously, I set the focus on the subject's eyes, then recompose because the most important thing with a portrait is getting the eyes in focus.
Very rarely do I center subjects, and in a portrait the eyes of the subject are not very likely to end up perfectly centered as well. In the above shot I first put my center focus point on the subject's eyes, then recomposed to put her eyes in the upper third of the frame (also her right eye ends exactly at the right horizontal third).
So when making portraits, set the focus on the eyes, then recompose how you like.
This shoot was with returning client Mark, but was by far the biggest contrast between photography services with the same client. In November 2012 he reserved a car photography shoot for his Mustang Cobra and as you can see this time it was a model portfolio shoot, involving himself and his girlfriend too no less! He saw some of my previous modeling shots at a brick wall and vintage door location and asked if we could use that same downtown St. Petersburg Florida spot.
For the shoot Mark wanted some individual shots of himself, individuals of his girlfriend, and then also shots of them together as a couple switching between the brick wall background and the vintage door. They also did a wardrobe change. For the above shot I used the pinhole filter in Silver Efex Pro to create that shadowy black & white look.
Not being professional models I suggested various ideas in addition to the ones they wanted to try too. I always like to try and get a dynamic look shot, so I suggested a hair toss. It took several tries and different starting points and remembering to smile even though she was flicking her head back, but in the end I got the result I envisioned for the shot.
For their first model portfolio shoot they both did great and I am of course always happy to work with a previous client again. I look forward to whatever type of shoot Marks wants to do next be it model, car or something else!