Headshot Photography - How to achieve professional Headshots!

Headshot Photography is a common and well-known photography field, ranging from corporate business to fashion and beauty. To become successful in this particular field, your photography needs to be of the highest quality and offer a professional result. In this blog, we will take a look at what is required to achieve the best possible photography and offer some lighting set-ups which would be perfect for this style of photography.


Setting up the shot

In order to achieve high-quality headshot photography, you first need to make sure that the subject is positioned and set-up properly, otherwise your end results will have an amateur finish to them. Your subject needs to have correct posture, with their back straight and their shoulders pushed back, this opens up the body to the camera and prevents the subject from slouching in the image. For headshots, the main focus of the image is the subjects face, so you need to make sure that the subject has their head positioned correctly. To achieve this, have your subject slightly lower their chin whilst pushing their face forward. This helps to expose the face to the camera whilst reducing the size of the neck in the shot. Finally, you need to make sure that the subject looks natural during the photo being taken. Most subjects will instantly begin to pose as soon as the camera is pointed towards them, leaving their pose looking forced and uncomfortable once you finally take the shot. Make sure that your lighting and camera is set-up and ready before having your subject pose, to keep a natural style and end result to your photography.


Equipment recommendations

Let’s have a look at what equipment is recommended for headshot photography. As all photographers know, it is always recommended to use flash lighting rather than continuous lighting when it comes to photography to achieve the best possible result. The recommended power output of the lighting would depend on what other equipment is being used in the set-up. For instance, if you have a single light set-up without any additional modifiers, we would recommend a high-powered output light source to make sure you receive ample light coverage. If you are using a multiple light set-up, you should be able to use a lower power output light as the additional lights will make sure the light spread is correct. As you are trying to capture every possible detail during a headshot, you need to make sure that the light it falling nicely onto a subject. The use of modifiers such as Softboxes and Beauty Dishes is recommended to help create a soft and diffused lighting which falls gently onto the subject’s skin. When using a single light set-up, you may find that you are unable to achieve the light coverage you want. To resolve this issue, add a Reflector to help bounce the light around, helping to cover the subject more completely to create a better end result. Now that we have looked at equipment recommendations, let’s take a look at some of the kits PiXAPRO have available for Headshot Photography.


LUMI II 400 Clamshell Lighting Kit: The LUMI II 400 Clamshell Kit is an ideal entry-level lighting kit for Headshot Photography. The Clamshell lighting set up is commonly used in beauty and headshot photography to produce a soft, glowing light which is flattering to most subjects. The LUMI400 is a 400Ws power output daylight balanced strobe lighting unit, featuring a 6-Stop Power Range (1/1 – 1/32) and fast recycle times and flash durations. This helps to make it the ideal lighting set-up for a single-light headshot kit. The LUMI400 is used as a main light positioned central to the subject, above the eye line of the subject. To make sure the light is positioned above the subject’s eye-line, we have included a 2-in-1 Boom Stand, to help position the light directly in line with the subject, but without the stand being in the way of the camera. Also included in this kit is a 95cm Octagonal Softbox, this helps to create a soft and diffused light source by using two layers of diffusion, to help the light fall softer on the subject’s skin and help to accentuate the details in the subject’s face. As this kit only includes a single flash unit, you may find that you are unable to get the light coverage on your subject that you require. To combat this, we have included a 5-in-1 Reflector board which is to be placed below the subject. This will then bounce the light from the single light source back onto the subject from below, removing any unwanted shadows and helping to offer a complete illumination.

LUMI II 400 Clamshell Lighting Kit (Gemini GS400 II)

PIKA200 PRO Commercial Headshot Kit: The PIKA200 PRO is another single-light Headshot Photography kit, but with a few differences compared to the previous kit. The PIKA200 PRO is a 200Ws Battery powered strobe lighting, making this kit ideal for traveling between different locations for Headshots. The PIKA200 PRO offers a 9-Stop Power Range (1/1 - 1/256) for a wide range of adjustments to better suit each shots requirement and a Stable-Colour Mode for 5600K ± 100K over the entire power range to make sure that colours in your subjects are captured perfectly.

This light is the main light used in this kit, which is meant to be placed directly in-line with the subject but above the eye-line of the subject. Included with this kit is a 105cm Rice Bowl Softbox, which helps to soften the light to make it fall more gently on the subject’s skin. The round shape of the Softbox helps to create a gentler light fall-off and helps to create a round catch light.

This Softbox also comes with a removable deflector dish, allowing to be used as a Beauty Dish, for when a shoot requires a more contrasting light source. As this kit only features one light, it is possible that the light would be unable to cover the entire subject properly. To fix this, this kit includes the curved reflector to help bounce the light around, allowing for a better overall spread of light to create a better finished product.

The Curved Reflector’s shape is based on the curvature of the Human eye, and produces flattering curved catchlights, to add a little extra sparkle to the eyes of your subject. Finally, this particular kit features a collapsible black/white background to finish off the entire look of the shoot. This background is the ideal piece of equipment for location photography, as it can be folded down to approximately 1/3rd of its size to help with transportation and storage.

PIKA200PRO Corporate Headshots Portrait Lighting Kit (AD200PRO)

PIKA200 Headshot Three-Head Portable Kit: This kit is different compared to the two previous kits, as it includes three light sources rather than one, to offer a different style of lighting. This particular kit features three PIKA200 Flash units, which are 200Ws Battery Powered Portable strobe lighting units, featuring an 8-Stop Power Range (1/1 - 1/128) for easy and accurate adjustments as well as super-fast recycle times and flash durations. As this kit comes with three lighting units rather than a single light set-up, you wouldn’t be required to use a modifier such as a reflector to bounce the light source, as the three lights would offer ample light coverage on your subject. This kit includes three 30x90cm strip softboxes to help diffuse and soften the light being produced by each PIKA200 unit. These softboxes not only come with two layers of diffusion, but include a honeycomb grid to help reduce any unwanted light spill and to better help angle the light directly onto the subject. For this particular set-up, it is recommended to have one light placed below the subject, in-line with them angled upwards, and have the other two light sources placed to off-centre to facing inwards to the subject. This layout reduces any unwanted shadows and offers ample light coverage to the subject.

PIKA200PRO Portable Flash 3-Heads Rembrandt Triangle Lighting Kit (AD200PRO)


For Headshot Photography, making sure that the subject is properly set-up and that the lighting equipment is perfect for the job is a must. Having looked through these steps and seeing a few kits that would help create the perfect set-up, hopefully you are now prepared to create professional Headshot Photography with ease.

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