Lately, friends and colleauges have started to ask if I would take their headshot. Most often, they are looking for a new LinkedIn profile picture or photos to populate their website. Recently, I was asked to help out a conference I'll be attending and I'm always happy to assist.
The problem with being a photographer is that people ask you to take photos. I know, shocking. But, the more I explore photography, the more I learn what type of photos I enjoy taking and what type of photos I want to take. The problem is that seldom do the photos I want to take, and the photos others ask me to take, align. Maybe people assume that if you like photography, you like all photography. This isn't the case. Frankly nothing sounds more tedious than taking corporate headshots.
When I think of headshots, I think of old white dudes, wearing suits and ties in some conference room, striking some power pose against an office door. I'm sure it's exactly the type of photo many executives want. Maybe some people enjoy taking them (or the money). Will I do them? Sure. Is it what I enjoy most? Hardly.
But, alas, there is no way around it. Few people want a creative environmental portrait. Most want something like they can find on a stock photo website. So, it seems inevitable, that these won't be the last headshots I take. As such, I sought a middle ground.
Above is a photo of my friend Katie who asked for new headshot. I took the opportunity to practice lighting, new editing techniques, and color grading. The result is something more aesthetically pleasing - somewhere between a headshot and an editorial portrait. It's a basic three-light setup against a piece of seamless gray photo paper. I used frequency separation for retouching and levels adjustments to bring some blue into the shadows. I accentuated the highlights with a solid color fill and a curves adjustment to finish it off with a marquee. Overall, it's a the type of headshot that I fulfills her needs, but still keeps me interested. Perhaps, that's where I need to work - someplace in the middle where interests can align.