2014 Glamour, Beauty & The Nude Photography Workshop - Building a Headshot with Heather



Heather is always a fun subject to photograph.  At the luau the previous evening, I noticed that she really liked the tuberose flowers in her lei and kept smelling them throughout the evening. For our private shoot session together, I decided to focus on just creating one image - a headshot with tuberose flowers in her hair.

Went to Safeway and picked up a few flower leis.  Also chose some leis that had different kinds of flowers in them to add some color variety to the shoot.


The original concept was to weave individual flowers throughout Heather's hair, and then have her lying in some tulle fabric on the bed.

Our makeup artist Stephanie came up with the idea to turn the flower leis into  a haku lei by simply pinning it around her head.  It saved us a lot of time and actually turned out much nicer than what I had originally envisioned. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best!

The change in the flower style also dictated a change in the shooting location and pose.  Instead of lying down on a bed, the flowers would look better in an outdoor setting in a standing pose.

Picked a spot out on the lanai in open shade for the shoot.


There were tennis courts and a parking structure in the background so a Canon  5DmkIII with the 70-200mm f2.8 was used to compress the background and blur out the distractions.


In the photo above you'll see the two light stands on the right which were left over from the lighting setup that was originally planned for the bedroom.  We ended up not using those two lights, instead relying on the existing natural light for our main light.

Two Canon 600RT flashes were used to supplement the natural lighting.  One was Justin clamped onto the railing behind the model for some edge lighting.


To add a bit of glow from underneath Heather's face, a white bedsheet was placed on a chair as a makeshift reflector and the second 600RT flash fired into it.


Wanted to put something in the foreground to add some depth to the image, so we found this decorative plant near the kitchen.


This was carefully balanced on top of a tripod which was placed between the camera and the model. Lucky for us there was no wind that day.


We started with a few test shots, but didn't have the right feel to it.  I was looking for something a little different, something other than the typical model pose. After Heather and I reviewed some of the images, I suggested that she try snorting those flowers really hard, like a little kid would do.


I'm finding that a lot of times if you can get your model to do something really silly or unexpected- something that makes her laugh then start shooting immediately after, you can get some great natural expressions. :-)


Since Heather was able to nail the look I was after in just a few shots, it was a short but very productive shoot.  Could have played around with adjusting the distance of the flowers in the foreground to bring them more into focus or more blurred out for different looks, but was very happy with the results we got.   Looking forward to working with Heather again for the next workshop. :-)