How To Tuesday #30 -Location Scouting Head Shots 101! / by Zack Smith

Location Scouting for the Perfect Headshot. You Should Lose Some Sleep Over It!

I think photographing the perfect head shot should be an intense job. You should lose sleep over the head shot, you should adequately scout locations even for the simplest portrait. It's always the unassuming jobs that have the most hidden outcomes. I have never taken a head shot job for granted even when the deliverable is your standard 85mm/100mm tightly cropped vertical oriented composition of a content business-like head. (and inhale!)

Head shots take an even more studious approach to fully understanding every detail about your backgrounds, lighting schemes, and especially your subject! In scouting locations for head shots I always include one or two "scenes" we can shoot some head shots with simple backgrounds using natural light. This way you can get your subject comfortable and establish a rapport before you pull out the 60" Octabanks, hair lights, and start popping off strobes. This way you can get to know your subject in these early moments especially if it's the first time you have met. What you will find out is that this person is more than just a "tightly cropped head shot" and is a dynamic and probably interesting person!

Great environmental portrait photography means getting there early!

I then like to then find a more "environmental" scene that can tell the story of my subject a little better than just a plain background. Getting to scout your location before hand at around the same time as you'll do your shoot will give you a much better idea how your ambient light will play in your outdoors setting, if you choose that. In the end, if you scouted properly, you will be delivering a set of photographs that have multiple ambiance, feeling, and style. Kind of like your subject.

Enjoy these location shots from a scout I did today...in a few weeks I will show you my finished head shots!