Kerrie & Jake {New York, NY} Part II

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After their engagement session in NYC Part I, Kerrie asked me, “Could you take my headshot?

“You bet,” I said without giving it much thought. Then I hit my internal panic button.

To a social media person, ‘look’ is everything. Much thought goes into a resume image featured on Facebook, Twitter, or a Web 3.0 start-up “About” page. People can actually peer right into your eyes. We can’t stare back, smile, and introduce ourself. Scary thing.

Headshot Art
A good headshot must reveal the person deep down inside the way they want to be seen in front of their professional audience.

More importantly, a good headshot must show, not just tell: “That person means serious ______ Business.”

What fills in the blank makes all the difference. Fun Business. Creative Buisness. Mad Men Business. Corporate Business. Heck, a good photographer should even make dentists look Nice like this.

It takes three parts therapist / one part photographer to make it happen. A family snap shot won’t cut it. And it has to look worthy of being on a poster, magazine cover, or on a music album.

Pile on that, no one really likes to be in front of the camera, especially with the power of today’s cameras to zoom into a single pore. As a photographer, I don’t like my photo taken. I would rather be on the other side of the other camera. Yet, the cobbler’s kids still need to wear shoes. This was me, 2 years ago.

Hip to Be Square
Extra thought is needed when it comes to taking creating a headshot. And a hefty dose of inspiration. My brain acts like a slot machine, each rotating wheel going through thousands of images, locations, lighting setups I’ve seen.

Then comes the 777. If they were a musician, what would their album look like?

Where did this come from? My earliest memories of medium format came from images created by Hipgnosis, an art design group responsible for album covers for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Peter Gabriel, and Genesis. Photographers used Hasselblad film cameras as their creative tool (The square format V-System which used leaf shutter instead of focal plane shutter’s to sync at 1/800 sec). This helped to contribute to the popularity of off-camera lighting and the ability to over-power ambient lighting conditions when outside the studio shooting in the field.

We were out in the field. With a digital medium format system. Jakes loves music, he’s a pretty square and sharp guy.

Bingo: Inspiration.
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Here are a few more from their engagement session, along with a few more headshots in a different light which I love: a setting sun over water:
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Technical note: While in NY last week I was offered an early glimpse of the PhaseOne’s Capture One Pro 7 software. The above images were all processed using the Pro 7 software.

My 2c review: I’ve had a long standing love-hate-releationship with software that gets in the way of creative process. Software buttons and sliders can help or hinder, improve creativity or contribute to wrist ache. I wasn’t completely sold on Capture One 6. But boy do I dig Pro 7, especially the ability to easily bring up shadow detail without making High Dynamic Range (HDR) slush sold in craft fairs.

Seriously, the combination of the PhaseOne IQ 140 and Capture One Pro 7 has changed the way I light. Seriously. Combined with 16-bit files, I no longer need a reflector. Or much of a need for a fill light. Or an assistant to hold the damn thing from blowing in the wind and juggling the gear. 1/1600 flash sync is mind blowing in terms of be able to carry smaller flashes and use them in a powerful way. The software developers, many of which I had a chance to meet, are top of their game and developed a system from hardware to software in a way no other camera manufacturer has done. How you can push these files is amazing. Download a 60-day trial and see for yourself.

All this coming from person who usually spits out the Kool-Aid.

One Response to “Kerrie & Jake {New York, NY} Part II”

  1. Jacob Schur — October 30, 2012 @ 10:32 am (#)

    I agree with everything you wrote about “headshots.” You captured us so well. These are amazing portraits. It’s as is the PhaseOne is an extension of your own eyes and mind.

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