Hair lighting

When you’re new to lighting, the concept of hair light seems so irrelevant, yet it can make a huge difference between having a a photograph filled with life and a photograph which seems static.

In the recent outdoor headshot shoot, I worked to get the hair light just right for this LinkedIn profile. We wanted to get a verdant outdoor experience which is common in many current high end social media profile photos.  To do this you need a  pretty narrow depth of field.  I opened up the aperture to f/4.0 which allows a pretty crisp focus over the entire face, particularly taking a wider field of view that shows the shoulders.  I used a 135mm lens on a full-frame camera which is a flattering length for portraits and exposes less of the background.

I tried a near and a far hair/fill light coming in from the right.  This changed how much light was caught by the hair and resulted in a subtle, but significant difference between the two photos.  The subject was Asian has gorgeous hair and with the light shining on it, auburn highlights come out of it.

While we went with the photo for the further hair light because we didn’t like the jacket, the near hair light really added an element of life to the photo.

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 10.41.21 PM

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