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Headshot, The: The Secrets to Creating Amazing Headshot Portraits (Voices That Matter) 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
Chapter 1: The headshot recipe that started it all
Chapter 2: Hitting the technical on the head
Chapter 3: Lights, camera, action-or not?
Chapter 4: Establishing a rapport
Chapter 5: Let's craft what's in your director's toolbox
Chapter 6: The art of Sherlock Holmesing
Chapter 7: Breaking the nonverbal two thirds barrier
Chapter 8: It all starts with the jaw
Chapter 9: The beauty of the human smile
Chapter 10: Make em squint
Chapter 11: It's all about the therapy/direction and the inner dialogue going on between us and our subject
Chapter 12: Pre-shuttter release checklist
Chapter 13: Don't shoot it if it just ain't right
About the Author
- Paperback : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0133928519
- ISBN-13 : 978-0133928518
- Item Weight : 1.57 pounds
- Dimensions : 8.4 x 8.9 x 0.5 inches
- Publisher : New Riders; 1st edition (August 3, 2015)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #261,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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It's more of a picture book, no technical info, and a lot of fluff about the man himself.
I needed headshots for LinkedIn because I just graduated from college and I'm looking for a job, and I need to look professional. I was worried because I have never considered myself to be photogenic- I wouldn't want to scare potential employers off with a horrid pic. You just never know these days... The campus photographer offered to shoot some pics for me, but they came out hideous. I'm not sure what lens he was using but I must have gained fifty pounds in my face alone. He is great at photographing the sports events but not so much with a headshot. I'm grateful that he took a stab at it anyway, he was trying to save me some money from hiring a pro. I have a Nikon D7000 and decided that I would give it a try, using the remote. Lots of equally horrible shots later that miraculously did not break the camera, I ordered some books on posing and this book on headshots because I knew there was something I was missing, and I had to find out what.
I liked what Peter Hurley had to say about people who think they are not photogenic, and paid lots of attention to his techniques on not adding weight to people with the camera. I watched his YouTube videos, practiced squinching in the mirror, and got a tether cord for my camera. I downloaded a free tethering software program called digiCamControl so I could shoot tethered. I rigged up my own fluorescent light box using four 4-ft long 2-bulb fixtures from Home Depot and Lowes, and I used 6500k bright daylight bulbs. Expect to pay around $20 for a T8 fixture and $12 for a T12 fixture, and two-packs of the bulbs ran about $11 each. So you can set this up inexpensively, and then you have lights you can use for other purposes, like starting seeds if you garden. I have a chrome shelving unit that I put directly in front of my desk, and I zip-tied the upright light fixtures to the shelf posts and rested the bottom edges on the desk. I laid the top light across the top shelf, and set the lower one on the desk. My square is more like a # but it does the job on the budget I have. I set my laptop on the shelf and put the mouse & pad on a hardback book that I held in my lap. I put the camera on a tripod behind this shelf rig, and dinked around with it until I got it the way I wanted it. I put it on full manual and used the settings Mr. Hurley recommends on page 33; I could change the ISO setting from the laptop with the mouse afterward. I had a 30x40" foamboard from some art classes I took, and I binder-clipped that to a chrome shelf I had behind me.
If you follow his setup, you will pretty much be in the zone for the cropped head style he favors. Then if you follow his advice about finding your good side (for me, it's the side without the ginormous zit that just surfaced! coincidentally my good side is the left side), posing correctly ("it's all about the jaw"), and making sure your hair isn't ruining your shots, you will probably not even need to break out Photoshop. I have done two sessions so far as a learning process, and I could probably use what I have but I want to try again with a few little changes. The first session I did would have been fine except for some reason my hair frizzed up, and I had to wash it and restyle it before trying again. Then the second time some strands of hair ended up getting on my face but I didn't notice it until too late. I figured out what I need to do to my hair (strong hairspray!) and makeup to get it right, and I will resume shooting tomorrow.
When I got the setup right, my photos came out WITHOUT adding weight and slimmed down my face, my skin looked luminous without a bunch of makeup on it, I looked confident & approachable like he says in the book, and the pics look way better than selfies with a bunch of distracting crap in the background and so-so lighting. I studied the pics in the book to get an idea of how his makeup artist does the looks and tried to copy it. I don't want to look like I'm wearing a ton of makeup, just want the natural myself-but-better look. (Which of course involves wearing a lot of makeup, but lightly and skillfully applied.) Keep in mind that the camera, with its single lens, does not have the depth perception that we do with our two eyes, and you can do some contouring with makeup to trick the camera into seeing what you want it to see. Wayne Goss and others on YouTube have lots of videos on how to do contouring, and IMHO it's necessary for still photography. That is one reason why you can look good in person and horrible in pictures- the camera only has the one lens and it flattens everything out to varying degrees depending on the lens being used.
I am super-pleased because I got excellent results using stuff I already had, except for three of the light fixtures and the bulbs. I also learned how posing and lighting can make all the difference in whether you are photogenic or not, and Mr. Hurley's recommendations prevent reasonably attractive people from literally looking like trolls in photographs. I've taken a couple of photography classes but I'm still quite the amateur; I haven't taken any studio lighting classes, and being ignorant of that subject was hosing me over before I got this book. I love that the fluorescent lighting is continuous and you don't have to mess around with flashes. I also love the plain background which puts all the viewer's attention on the person in the photograph, and allows the subject's personality to show. I can only imagine what I could get with better lighting and equipment, but I was able to do a lot with what I had, and it's all due to this book. Loveee!
Why? Well, Peter shares all his technical hoopla for sure... And, many of us photographers are all about the technical hoopla...
What I particularly liked was that the majority of the book deals with posing, direction and banter... Peter tells pretty much exactly why and how he poses his headshots. How he frames them... and why... and ... he shares his banter... and the why of his banter.
The why is often more important than the exact what... He does share the what... (banter) in detail.. exhaustively... and the examples help understand what he is intending and meaning pretty explicitly. And, the whys and hows are provided with sufficient clarity and scope to gives each reader the opportunity to come up with their own unique banter style... as banter is very personal.
Peter's direction is laid out in a fairly formulaic manner. As Peter lays out a pretty straight and not too varied formula... It makes hitting his pose style pretty easy.
I believe, as I believe Peter believes... expression is king. And Peter's book, after going into getting the position and lights the way he likes, ... is mostly about getting the expression.
That said... While I don't like or love or feel every shot in the book is just awesome... I know the book taught me things I like knowing to make my headshots more awesome....
If you are looking for a book that might help you get more expression from your headshots... This book might just be one of your best tickets.
Top reviews from other countries
I love this book, I think it is outstanding - Peter Hurley writes exactly like he expresses himself on video and I am ok with that, the information is comes from someone who really understands how to get the best out of his subjects. The images in the books are really fabulous, inspiring and compliment the written text perfectly.
This book is well worth having in your library.
There is no doubt he has first class technique and professional competence. I learned a lot from the book once I got past the Bio content at the start. When I read this, I was really 'studying' studio based headshots and Peter is a master in this field. From reading the book I adapted my skills and techniques. It is not set out as a training book – you pick things up as you read through (and I took bullet point notes of things I should carefully consider and remember).
The book influenced my buying decisions when choosing a lighting configuration. I can't stretch to the kind of gear he uses – but I am also not using the cheapest either - so I was really picking up on configuration for this. He makes interesting (non sexist) observations about useful differences in light and shade depending on your subject being male or female.
The book has also influenced my work style, my headshot composition (and my post production work).
Peter rightly emphasizes the importance of ‘people factors’, specifically connecting / engaging with your subject, helping them feel relaxed and presenting them with pictures that even they love. I may be wrong, but I really think this is 50% of the skills required for studio portraits (the rest being technical camera and lighting knowledge).
I am a serious enthusiast with a high end DSLR although I would still have learned from this as a novice using a medium format camera. You don’t need his high end gear to learn important headshot principals and really make difference to your work. Read it, digest it, consider it and then apply it (and scale up / down according to what you want to achieve and the size of your budget).
I have purchased other books on this subject but I was drawn to read Peter’s first. My guess is that others will be better written, more detailed, perhaps more technical. They will certainly teach me other things and give me more things to consider and apply to my work. After reading these other books, I somehow think I will still be very pleased I purchased and read this one.
After less than 30 minutes' reading, I was straight into my studio, shooting selfies, and practicing 'The Squinch'. It really works! It's not a gimmick. The power of the expressions I was extracting was through the roof!
The production quality of book itself is highly polished and represents excellent value for money.
If you want to take your portrait/headshots to a polished and professionally-shot level, you can't go wrong with this book.