headshots

Headshots by Conor Cunningham

Luke Buckley, Co-founder and CEO of ConnectMyApps

The founders of local Oslo, but globally focused start-up ConnectMyApps asked me to take some profile pictures for their own professional use. Happy to oblige I turned up and with my usual kit of three strobes, three light stands, rogue flashbenders, two Lumopro 180 and one Canon 430exII (this will be gone soon and replaced with another Lumopro!), 70 - 200 f/2.8 and my trusty camera.

I decided to go for the white background for a clean professional look. I used the two Lumopros pointed at a white wall at 1/8th power with the Rogue flashbenders placed to stop light leaking towards my lense. 

I was lucky enough to have a large room to work in so I could have the subject stand well in front of the wall to avoid any flare. I used a the Canon 430exII and an umbrella to light the subjects.

Nathan Bray, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of ConnectMyApps

Press Release

The lads also wanted a press release photo which came as a bit of a surprise, but half the fun of being a photographer is problem solving. There were some dark chairs which the lads opted to sit in, and we have a large window approximately 3 x 2 metres to use.

I sat the lads in the chairs and tried blew out the background as much as I could given the focal length. One flash off to camera right behind a brolly. 

Final Results

Overall, I'm very happy with the results and, I believe the two lads are, too. I found that by not rushing through things, taking time to review and analyse images and then seeking to improve them offered a workflow that helped sculpt the final product into something with which both my subjects and me were happy. I'm also a believer in getting the white balance right in camera so that during the shoot I can show the subjects the pictures which helps put them at ease.

Final Thoughts on Framing

We all know the eyes are the most critical element in a headshot. Peter Hurley taught my about how important their placement in the picture is with regards to a photo that really gets the viewer's attention. I feel that by placing the eyes about the half way point in the frame one focus falls more naturally towards them. Also, I like using negative space. It gives the sense of room to breathe and allows the viewer's eyes to wander around the whole frame.

More on Connect My Apps

For more on ConnectMyapps, visit their website and check out their social media pages.


Post Match Portaits by Conor Cunningham

Some weeks ago I was intending to shooting an indoor game of AFL (Aussie Rules Football) on a Sunday afternoon. I've been wanting to shoot more with off-camera flash and I thought that shooting the players post-match might be a good way to practice.

I brought along along two lightstands, two snoots (Rogue flashbenders), a 106 cm (42 inches) umbrella and two flashes. The idea was simple: flash and umbrella camera left at about 2 meters from the ground with something like Loop or Rembrandt lighting.

The boys where tired and so I worked as fast as I could, and in hindisight I should have slowed down and check the pictures better. The first image used a snooted flash, again camera left but it was missing its target and shone too directly onto the subject.

Completely missed with the separation light.

Completely missed with the separation light.

Knowing the lads where thirsty, tired and hungry, I simply ditched the separation light (second flash). I also used a colour correcting orange gel for the rest of the shots to try and balance the indoor tungsten with the flash.

This chap scored some cracking goals

The above fellow was next up. Again, I worked quickly and didn't pay too much attention to detail. I would have liked to have gotten nicer shadows.

My cycling buddy.

My cycling buddy.

Well, you can certainly see the orange gel coming through, but I think it works to an extent. In highsight I could have used a slightly cooler gel, but I do like the effect it has on the face given they subjects have all been running for 90 or so minutes.

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This image is probably my favourite. I don't know this gentleman, but he was kind enough to pose for me. I think the shadow under his left (camera right) eye works and his smile is genuine. Light shadow under his chin and his face pops out from the background.

At this point you've probably noticed that I have heavily vignetted all of these images. The background wasn't exactly pretty and there were people all over the place, so I shot at f/1.8 at added the vignetting in post to focus more on the subject.

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I'm now happy with where might light is and the exposure seems just enough to make the faces pop out from the background. Unfortunately, I think this image suffers from too much orange gel. Again, would have liked to have used a cooler gel. Next time.

afl-1500-038.jpg

Chin out, drop your shoulders and smile. The camera only sees in 2D and sticking your chin out helps define ones jawline and remove any double chin (which all of us have if we tuck our chins close to our throat).

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Last but not least, a classic sport star pic. Get down lower than your subject to make them look big. I should however have used a high f-stop as the ball isn't sharp.

Overall, I enjoyed this particular little shoot, but there are a few things I can take away from it.

  • Have things ready to go before your subjects are there (if possible)
  • Don't rush yourself
  • Review your images and exposure
  • Check your images for sharpness/focus
  • Get the lighting right!

All images were shot with a Canon 85mm f/1.8, ISO 250, 1/160 second with the flash at 1/32 power.