New Style of Pittsburgh Headshot and Commercial Portraits
I don’t know about you, but I get bored with things rather quickly. For the longest time, I considered myself and called myself a food photographer. To be honest, shooting food just doesn’t trip my trigger like it used to. There are a lot of reasons for this and I really don’t want to get into it here. Let’s just say I’ve evolved. Don’t get me wrong though, I still enjoy shooting food occasionally, but I don’t want to shoot just food. I’d be bored to death. I’ve moved on.
The thing that’s been piquing my photographic interest lately, has been shooting low-key commercial portraits and headshots. I guess what draws me to these types of portraits or headshots, is the fact that what makes them good or bad, is mostly the quality of the lighting. Sure, it always helps if the subject is beautiful or interesting, but lighting is a major factor in the success of the photo.
The market for these low-key headshots
To be honest, I’m not really sure what the market is for these types of photos, but I’m assuming that these would be good for actor headshots and for editorial magazine use. There may be a “retail” portrait market, but I’m not really sure I want to go there. At this point, I prefer working with companies, rather than families. Who knows though, what the future will bring.
What makes a good low-key headshot?
Like I said earlier, these types of headshots are all about the lighting. Sure, the more interesting the face, the better the photo, but in the world of commercial photography, you don’t always get to pick your subject. You have to be able to shoot anyone and make them look interesting.
I enjoy researching low-key headshots
As a photographer, I like looking at other photographers’ work, especially on Instagram and Pinterest. There are some really great photographers out there and I have started a collection of photos that I’ve pulled down and saved in a folder. I call it my “swipe file”. I have one for portraits and one for food. I don’t use these to copy from, but to get inspiration. I don’t always love the photos I swipe, but there may be a technique that the photographer used, or a pose, or a light direction. They say there are no original works of art. Everything has been done. Artists take a little from here and a little from there, and combine it into something new. I guess that’s what I’m doing with my swipe file.
Where I get my low-key headshot subjects.
As a working commercial photographer, you basically have two choices when it comes to building a portfolio. You can wait until you get approached or hired to take the type of photography you want to do, or, you can ask random people if you can photograph them. I’m doing a little bit of both. I’ve approached some people that I think have interesting faces, like Douglas, the guy sh0wn here, and asked them if I could photograph them. Others approach and want to hire me to do their headshot. At that point, I offer them an option. Option one is if I photograph them the way they want me to, which I charge full price for, or I give them a break if I get to shoot them “my way”. I hope eventually, I don’t even have to make that offer. I’m hoping that I develop a market and get “known” for this type of low-key headshot. Time will tell.
More images soon. I have a bunch of headshots scheduled, so I’ll be posting more images very soon.