Headshots and what not

I get intensely bored after shooting the same thing over and over again for awhile. Everyone does and has their own thing, but certain photographers have based their careers around taking the same headshot over, and over, and over. After all three of those overs have run their course, they throw in an additional for good measure, in case the other three overs weren’t repetitive enough. This being said, when it comes to headshot lighting,I generally tend to get bored doing the same thing over and over and, while I do employ the same lighting methods in a bit of a cyclical fashion, don’t really feel like everyone is made for the same one.

Nevertheless, I do have some go-to setup methods and setups that never really tend to too entirely old. After all, there really are only so many different lighting techniques you can use to begin with.

I. The reflector, in the shade, outdoors

This never really gets old and probably never will. For starters, it’s cheap, inexpensive, and’ll be a go-to (or should be a go-to) for every beginning/intermediate/advanced photographer for the next several decades to the end of the world.

This was taken with a reflector over on west fourth street and sixth.

Headshots NYC

The reflector was placed just underneath her chin and there to mostly just fill in the glamour area. It nevertheless made the image almost in it’s entirety.


The larger the lightsource, the softer the light, and in headshots, the softest light possible is generally king.
This was taken with a couple Octabank, for instance.

Actor Headshot NYC

The clamshell setup

A key above and a fill below is a fiarly standard and go-to setup for headshot lighting. It tends to be a bit overused and look a little generic, but is nevertheless a mainstay in the photography world and, additionally, a great way to get started with something professional looking.

For example:

Headshots NYC

Lastly, the tried and timeless shoot-through umbrella. For about 15 or so dollars, you can get your lighting off cam. The light isn’t super-controllable and tends to go everywhere, and so, like the clamshell setup, your shots will tend to look a little generic after awhile, but it’s a good entry point for starting out.

Check out my own headshot portfolio for further examples and, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.