Headshots at Home - Part 2

 

Last week we talked about how, for a very small outlay, you can produce professional quality studio headshots in the comfort of your own home. We covered the very basics you'll need gear-wise and reassured you that you won’t need to take out a second mortgage to get shooting. This week we'll expand a little on how to set-up your gear and get shooting some great family portraits that'll take pride of place on your wall.

 

A few more words on gear...

 

Last week we pretty much covered everything that you'll need to start shooting, but we wanted to ad one caveat with regards to your umbrella adaptor. If there’s one piece of equipment that it’s worth spending a little more on, this is it. The cheapest adaptors work fine for a single flash and one umbrella, but they don’t tend to last very long. Spend £25 or so on a Manfrotto or Calumet adaptor and it'll last a lifetime. The extra money you spend on this can be balanced out when you purchase your flashgun. For this kind of work you’ll be working in manual, so there's no need to shell out on a £300 Nikon or Canon flashgun. A cheap Chinese Yongnuo YN-560 II manual flash for £30-£40 will do a great job. Don't be fooled - these are great little units despite their bargain price point.

 

Setting it up

 

You've got your gear, now what do you do with it? First time users may be a little anxious at the thought of using this equipment, but we'll walk you through and make it easy...

 

  1. Open up your lightstand and screw your umbrella adaptor to it.
  2. Slide your receiver into the top flash shoe and tighten gently.
  3. Slide your flashgun into the receiver hotshoe, making sure it's pointing forwards. You may need to turn the receiver on before attaching the flashgun.
  4. Open up your umbrella and slide it through the hole in the adaptor. You'll see that it’s angled, so make sure the umbrella is pointing upwards.
  5. Put your transmitter into the hotshoe of your camera.

 

Things to check...

 

As we said, the umbrella should be angled upwards and the flashgun pointing somewhere towards the centre of the brolly. Also, very importantly, make sure that the umbrella is centred over one of the outstretched legs of the lightstand, which should be extended fully. This is the only way to properly balance the weight and prevent accidents.

 

Next week we'll start concentrating on backgrounds and offer a couple of alternatives for you to consider...