Headshot opinions - final selection added

Joined
May 27, 2005
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Clearwater, Florida
My daughter needs a professional head shot for some upcoming applications. Any preference for one of these in particular?

1.
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2.
51521-7-XL.jpg
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3.
51521-2-XL.jpg
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4.
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2 or 3, with 1 just behind. Definitely not 4 with the dark background. And I would give the nod to 2 with the teal blouse because it gives more contrast (and my wife agreed). Remember that this image may also be used in B/W or reproduced at low quality in a small size. The nice thing is your daughter has a very nice smile and is very consistent .

--Ken
 
Joined
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Great work!

I assume she's going to be submitting the photo online and that people will be viewing it on a computer monitor. If I'm right about that, I would go with the bright background because so many people are used to seeing bright backgrounds for all sorts of products (not that I'm calling your daughter a product).

As for the greenish blouse, consider darkening it, as it's just bright enough to distract my eye from her face (unlike the other blouse).
 
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I am leaning more toward #3. Definitely a lighter background and the maroon blouse looks a little more on the professional side to me. The lighting is a little on the flat side but is certainly acceptable. Nice job!
 
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Normally, I would favor the darker BG, but with her blazer being dark in color, it would have required a little backlighting to prevent her from blending into the background. I do prefer the maroon top over the teal, so #3 would be my choice of the four. If a lighter BG is needed, I'm sure you know that is easily modified in post. I think a slight lifting of the shadows in her blazer would be a good idea to bring out some of the details and be less contrasty compared to her skin.
 
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I would go with number 3. Number 1 does not have even light across the background, and number 4 is too dark for with that outfit unless you add some more separation lighting. So really it comes down to the teal vs the magenta top and I feel the look of the pleated magenta top looks more professional then the plain teal top.
 
Joined
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Wow, thanks for the great input everyone. I'm leaning towards #2. I think I like the simpler blouse without the pleats.

I threw the black backdrop in at her request. We discussed the issue with her black blazer and lack of separation, but we gave it a try.
 
Joined
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I am leaning more toward #3. Definitely a lighter background and the maroon blouse looks a little more on the professional side to me. The lighting is a little on the flat side but is certainly acceptable. Nice job!

The lighting is flat. When I started with my usual ratios for this setup, she felt the shadows were a bit too strong. I wound up increasing my fill light to the point where it was just a bit under my main light. Perhaps I should have just gone with a clamshell setup like Walter posted a few days ago.
 
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Speaking of colors and job applications and interviews...

In the mid-1970s, I took a graduate-level course in career transition offered at the Pentagon targeting the men about to retire from the military and seeking a new career in the corporate world. The class was about 400 people that took place in an auditorium and I was one of the three students that were not in the military. Nearly every session featured a guest teacher with a highly accomplished career in the private sector.

The class explaining how and why to dress a particular way for a job interview was taught by the CEO of a local, well-known men's clothing store that sold only very high-end clothing. He explained that a person's first impression of another person is visual; we see people before we ever hear them speak or see them do anything. He also explained that the first impression for most people really is a lasting impression that is difficult to overcome and that, for all of those reasons, it is really important to wear ideal clothing anytime we're trying to impress someone, make a presentation, etc., etc.

The teacher was wearing a navy blue suit, white shirt and red tie ( just like all the IBM male executives and salespeople wore at the time and maybe still do). He explained that that was the ideal interview clothing for men. That's because in most people's minds a dark suit establishes that the person is an authority in his area of expertise; the white shirt establishes credibility and honesty; and the red tie establishes assertiveness. The murmurs and scoffing throughout the auditorium strongly indicated that the students, of whom 99% of them were wearing military uniforms, didn't buy a word of it.

Once that night's class was about halfway done, everyone took the usual 15-minute break and returned to their seats. When the teacher appeared on the stage again, much to everyone's surprise, he was no longer wearing the same suit. Though he was again wearing perfectly tailored clothing, this time the suit was beige with a shirt and tie that impeccably complemented the outfit. The silence in the auditorium was deafening. That's because everyone realized the teacher no longer looked like an authority on his subject and no longer looked impressive.
 
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