Monday, December 21, 2009

On Assignment: Photography for Social Media


I have been getting a new type of assignment over the last few months that I would have never anticipated even a year ago: Shooting corporate headshots and portraits specifically designed to be used in social media.

If you are a photographer who is savvy with Facebook and Twitter, you might do well to hook up with forward-thinking people who are heavy users of social media sites. More, inside.
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Ahead of the Curve

For me, the first thought of social media headshots was in an email exchange a while back with fellow blogger Ben Popken. He was sporting a cooler-than-thou avatar pic, and I asked him about it.

He told me that he "had it done," by photographer Nikola Tamindzic [NSFW]. In an instant, this made total sense to me. We register visual impressions in a fraction of a second, and Ben was smart enough to make the most of that for his online presence. Think of the number of images that hit you on a given day, and how efficient you are at making subconscious assessments based on image content and style.


Ben's avatar is current, cool and loose -- a perfect fit for his highly visible job Consumerist. But also is part of a group of photos at the ready for the speaking gigs and TV appearances that are part of his duties.

Take a moment to check out the bottom/right sidebar at Consumerist, which features Ben's headshot as seen above. Just below him, Meghann Marco's photo is also from a pro shoot, albeit a tight crop. It's from a cool group shot by the same photog of the (then) three editors at Consumerist:


The other sidebar shots are more typical of what you would normally see used as a bio pics or avatars. And to me, there's a huge difference in the first impression left by the different types of photos.

Consumerist doesn't have a gazillion bucks to go out and fund a big shoot. But even in 2007, they were smart enough to give themselves an instant leg-up on projecting a cool image.

What's amazing to me is that even in 2009, some much better-funded companies using social media still don't get this. In fact, some companies actually are using employee I.D. badge photos as avatars for their Twitter folks. Talk about penny-wise and pound-foolish.

If you are corporate social media type -- or just very visible on the web in your profession -- how much is riding on that first impression? Should you really be letting some guy down in security make your avatar photo on his ID-O-Matic mugshot machine?


Have a Compass Point

The trio of headshots up top came from a recent shoot I did of a social media team at a financial services company. They work directly with the public, and wanted to project an attitude of being fun, smart and approachable. Not exactly your father's corporate headshot. One of the ideas I tossed up for this shoot was a "Fast Company" look, based on the very smart Biz 2.0 mag of which I am a big fan.

As good as Fast Company is, one of the things that irks me about them is their willingness fall back on the same Jill Greenberg-style cover, say, 6 times a year or so. But that does give them a look, and one that is recognizable to even their non-photographer readers. This common knowledge is helpful in finding a visual compass point before the shoot. And they went for it right away.

I'll confess to having a love/hate thing with that Greenberg style. I like where she starts out, but frequently do not like where she ends up. Way too much over-lighting and post work for my taste.

My preference is to go with the natural, 3-D look of that wrapping style of light, and go lighter on the post work. I'm just not a big fan of the highly Photoshopped, alien-looking plastic skin thing.



Here is a pullback for Suzanne, the subject on the left up top. We kept this lighting pretty consistent throughout the shoot, which involved six people on that day.

As you can see, there is a beauty dish for key, and two gridded strips behind her for separation. Not a lot of juice on the strip lights, either. Just enough to define the area rather than nuking it. What you cannot see is a diffused (bare-bulb) SB-800 close to the collapsible backdrop, and an ABR-800 / Moon Unit for on-axis fill.

That last light is important, as it allows you to dial the contrast up or down as needed right from the camera position. We nixed the fill altogether on Rob (on the right) for instance. And if you don't have a ring you could use an umbrella right behind the camera in a pinch.

This lighting scheme gives a lot of control, as you are pretty much lighting every plane in the photo. Thus, there is a volume control on everything. But by keeping the ratios close, it all just look very crisp and 3-D -- and not so nuclear as in the Fast Company fronts.

The files were pretty close right out of the camera. I only added a little bit of high-pass filtration with hard-light layers to punch it up a little in post.


Bring Some Attitude


In the end, the edited photos set the tone for what should connote a fun, person-to-person feel in a social media environment. So while you should definitely start out with some standard corporate neutrals and smiles, get past that stuff quickly and work a wider variety of expressions. Then you have the ability to make choices in the edit later.

For these, we decided to go with more of an impish, fun look for the avatars, with a range of expressions inside on peoples' profile pages. When you think about it, everything in business comes down to person-to-person relationships. And being willing to open up a little bit in a corporate environment can pay big dividends in social media. It helps that this particular group of people were smart, funny and outgoing.

Which, of course, also makes them the ideal type of person for this job. Clarky, in the center, is hard-core social media. She had tweets timed to drop in while the shoot was happening. (FWIW, I sometimes use Future Tweets to space mine out, too. Keeps me from looking like a freak by dropping in tweets at 3:00a.m. when I frequently am actually awake writing.)


Just Do It.

If you are interested in building a social media portfolio, the best place to start is by photographing people in your circle who are already blogging and/or on Twitter. It's great for them, obviously. And done right, you will already have the beginnings of a viral marketing arm for your work.

Come to think of it, if your goal is to spread the word you might want to find the people who are already social media hubs in your town and work with them right off the bat. Being the chatty, social types they are, the first thing they'll probably do when they throw up the new photo is to talk about and link to the photographer who shot it.

But the important thing is that you get a subject and they get a photo. Lather, rinse and repeat until you start getting a better comfort level -- and a better, more targeted portfolio. Then you'll be ready when the word of mouth starts to come back to you.

This is an area I am interested in for several reasons -- not the least of which is because it is an intersection point for several areas of my professional life. So I have been shooting friends and colleagues to create the beginnings of a body of work in social media.

Which, in turn, has also led me to what I think will be the most interesting project I will be working on in 2010. Not ready to talk about it here yet, but suffice to say that the serendipitous aspect of just jumping in and making things happen can be very powerful.


Your Examples

Knowing that a lot of you are on Twitter, I'd be curious to see some of your choices for cool avatars there. It's a small amount of real estate, but some folks are creating a kickass first impression with it.

For instance, I like Tim Ferriss's avatar, which is perfect for the globe-trotting lifestyle engineer that he is.

Whose avatar -- other than your own, of course -- do you like? Hit us with a comment, and include a fully-formed URL (i.e., http://www.twitter.com/ahetherington) in the comments.
__________

Next: STB: John McIntyre


__________

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74 Comments:

Blogger Meghan Camino said...

First time commenter but I find this really interesting. I think Christine's avatar is simple but completely memorable: http://twitter.com/christinebpc I think the bold background makes it easier to recognize. I do love Ree Drummond's too: http://twitter.com/thepioneerwoman. City girl turned country wife is actually summarized in this one picture.

December 21, 2009 12:38 AM  
Blogger Michael Rice said...

Do you use the Alienbees lights often? I am in the market of lights and packs and I am looking for high quality items with a low quality price. Can you tell me what you think of them and if you would recommend it?

December 21, 2009 1:23 AM  
Blogger Texel Images said...

See mine at twitter under wannesfey. B/W,high contrast, and shot in the the rare occasion of having a small beard. All done on purpose. My Avatar is supposed to be recognizable and casual. ;-)

December 21, 2009 1:33 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Hi Devid,
These are all great images! I agree with you thought, this is absolutely one of the excellent idea to promote your photography on social media.

Good luck.

---------------------
Dmitri Markine

December 21, 2009 1:55 AM  
Blogger Michael McGuire said...

What a coincidence. Just yesterday I approached our youth Minister at Church and suggested a fund-raising event for the Youth along these lines. I offered to take Social Media headshots in exchange for a donation to the Youth Mission Trips.

December 21, 2009 3:15 AM  
Blogger Rockhopper said...

My avatar is based on the current adobe style of button, My company name has been shortened to RVFX and placed in a web 2.0 style. It is visually striking and I have used Verdana font as it is the only font that is truly scalable for monitors.

I dont have a headshot as I have been told that I have a face for radio.

I think headshots can be used brilliantly, however flat normal lighting can make them looking dull. The best way to bring it out is actually strobist lighting technique as the image jumps of the page.

December 21, 2009 5:00 AM  
Blogger gridlock said...

That's pretty awesome!

December 21, 2009 6:44 AM  
Blogger info said...

Jumping into social media is a great idea. I have seen many companies, and even schools make this move. Times are changing rapidly. It is good to see the industry evolve with it.

December 21, 2009 7:59 AM  
Blogger JoeH said...

ROFL...you nailed it. Person at my company that sends out a newsletter to 8,000 people was using a SCANNED image of his ID badge...turns out security wouldn't give him a copy of their image..guess there were copyright issues?

I knew enough from this site, that I could make a better image and sent him a note with the offer. He accepted and now he has 5 new pics, each with a different feel.

Thanks for helping me finally get into and understand OFC!

December 21, 2009 8:04 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

I'm not much of a Tweeter, but there to follow Strobist and a few others. Here's my avatar (taken by a friend and lit entirely by sparkler): http://twitter.com/sirwalterscoot

-Mike (the guy who submitted the Polish Scooter pic to the "What Moves You" assignment)

December 21, 2009 9:00 AM  
Blogger Dave McLane said...

The setup looks really good, especially the fill in front that can be easily adjusted for each person. Will see what I can do with my own equipment.

Thanks for the post.

December 21, 2009 9:12 AM  
Blogger Cory B said...

http://www.twitter.com/corybphoto Thanks as always for the good info Mr Hobby!

December 21, 2009 9:25 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

David,

what brand of collapsible background do you use? what color grey is it? dark grey, studio grey?

thanks for all you do!

December 21, 2009 9:38 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

That's funny. I just finished watching the last episode of 30 Rock, and Alec Baldwin's character was getting his new headshot taken for their new social media site Youface.com. Weird coincidence.

December 21, 2009 9:39 AM  
Blogger pablosalgado said...

Hi all,




I like this avatar, and also, their work. It is something that I am following and it is nice to share here:

http://twitter.com/account/profile_image/imageisfound?hreflang=en


www.theimageisfound.com


Happy Christmas from London.

December 21, 2009 9:42 AM  
Blogger David said...

@Brian: I use Botero backgrounds.

December 21, 2009 10:24 AM  
Blogger Damon said...

Wow. Looks a lot like Jill Greenbergs work.http://www.manipulator.com/
Her style is pretty distinctive.
But I guess once a style is popular everyone jumps on.
Who hasn't shot a portrait like the classic Avedon white background?
Thanks for sharing.

December 21, 2009 2:43 PM  
Blogger Mmemosyne said...

I actually answered an ad on Craigslist, for photography work, for a company doing just this. They were trying to hire experienced photographers with their own studios, to do portraits for social media and dating sites. Apparently their thinking is, the site contracts the company to contract photographers to take the pictures, which is then in essence "verified" since the photographer is getting paid by the site/company. Therefore, less scammers.

December 21, 2009 3:34 PM  
Blogger David said...

@Damon-

You think? Did you read the post?

December 21, 2009 4:29 PM  
Blogger NP36 said...

David: I'd be interested to hear how you price your social media shoots.

December 21, 2009 4:49 PM  
Blogger David said...

@NP36;

It's a straight corporate shoot, so pricing is going to be based on creative fee, usage and the expenses involved.

If you are that into the biz/pricing stuff, I highly recommend Harrington's book (2nd Ed.) as a big help.

-DH

December 21, 2009 5:17 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

Great post David! I've done something similar in the past with a concept I've called "Meet Heads" or meet-up head shots. When I go to twitter or other meets, I take along a 'portable studio' and set up in a corner, and take portrait photos of anyone interested. I give them a flyer telling them where to find their photo, and informing them of my photography services. I give them a license to use the photo for any promotional purpose, provided they credit me as the photographer and link to my site when they can.

It's been a great way to raise my profile, promote my business and I've even scored some paid shoots from the photos!

I've written about the concept in more detail on my blog: http://www.neilcreek.com/blog/2009/06/29/meetheads-promoting-my-business-at-a-tweetup/

December 21, 2009 7:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I can't help it. I still think twitter is just dumb. Social media or not, I don't have time for this kinda stuff.

December 21, 2009 9:56 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

One of my favorite photogs has an avatar that sums up her personality and her style. I was just thinking the other day how an avatar changes how often I read their post or glaze over it. I read faces more often than logos.

http://twitter.com/account/profile_image/kplicanic?hreflang=en

December 21, 2009 10:32 PM  
Blogger f.57 said...

You teased some great expressions out of those guys!

December 22, 2009 3:59 AM  
Blogger AbrahamLove said...

I love these headshots. Nice light, and you've brought out the best in these characters.

There's one more thing I would like to see, specifially in these multi light OA posts. Understandably if it's a paid job it's going to be tough to get this, but I'd like to see the shot with each of the lights in turn. Sometimes you hint at it when you show ambient with no flash, that helps. But here for example it would be nice to see what the strips are doing on their own, the ring, the beauty dish etc. would be cool from a learning perspective.

Again - great shots.

Great site.

Happy Christmas.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/32889289@N07

December 22, 2009 4:57 AM  
Blogger pixel said...

Here's my twitter picture: http://twitter.com/pixelcatcher

December 22, 2009 7:17 AM  
Blogger Edward Carlile Photography said...

Thank you very much for the ideas, info and look at the lighting setup......fascinating stuff all of it!

December 22, 2009 7:39 AM  
Blogger gretsch said...

Great photos, but this looks suspiciously like "studio lighting". Was the SB800 a guilty afterthought? ;-)

What setup would you recommend to get the same effect with only strobes?

December 22, 2009 9:11 AM  
Blogger Nichole said...

Dave,

It is so interesting to hear your perspective of the photo shoot, being a subject and all! From the client side what was best about the shoot was that we both had a vision of what the photos would be because I could envision Fast Company covers in my head, you worked towards that vision and we couldn't be more pleased with the results. The photos are exactly what I was looking for.

Oh and you are a really fun guy, so we had a ton of fun while we were supposed to be "working!"

Nichole Kelly

December 22, 2009 9:25 AM  
Blogger David said...

@Gretsch-

Oh, please. (See graf #5 in the comments TOS.)

Second, I frequently mix bigger flashes and speedlights. In this case, the BG light was so close that even with a speedlight there, I think I was running at ~1/32nd power.

December 22, 2009 11:18 AM  
Blogger David said...

@Nichole-

Thanks for the comment! You guys were a hoot. I will wait until you get the new stuff up on your end to link in...

:)

Thx,
DH

December 22, 2009 11:20 AM  
Blogger Dave McLane said...

The lighting setup for this setup looked extremely useful. It had a key, two sides and a background that stayed the same and a fill that could be adjusted for each portrait (especially for what looked like the color/brightness of the persons clothing).

There is a beauty dish for key, and two gridded strips behind her for separation. Not a lot of juice on the strip lights, either. Just enough to define the area rather than nuking it. What you cannot see is a diffused (bare-bulb) SB-800 close to the collapsible backdrop, and an ABR-800 / Moon Unit for on-axis fill.

I didn't see anything in the report as to how the five lights were triggered by I assumed four groups (by considering the two sides as one unit). I don't have a grey background, I don't have a beauty dish, I don't have strip lights, and I don’t have a ABR-800 / Moon Unit but I do have an SU-400 Commander, 2 SB-800s and 3 SB-600s so I modified the setup to fit with the "Best Equipment," namely what I have.

I couldn't use the SU-400 as it can only control three groups (A, B, C) but when you use an SB-800 as the Commander you have four as the Master can be only a trigger or a trigger and light in addition to A, B, C.

The result is here.

     Left: Ambient
Middle: Key, Background
  Right: Key, Background, Side, Fill

I've put this same report on the Strobist Flickr Discussion group. Please discuss there. http://www.flickr.com/groups/strobist/discuss/72157622926355513/

December 22, 2009 11:34 AM  
Blogger gretsch said...

David, the "studio light" reference was a (joking) reference to your dislike of the phrase (I agree wholeheartedly)! I thought you'd bite, but not with graf #5 threats... (Call them off!!) Sheesh, you must REALLY dislike those two words :)

Love and respect your work, just wondering how I can replicate this setup with humble (gridded?) SB28s? I can umbrella the on axis, but I can't find anything on the blog for DIY strip lights for side lighting. Strip gobo type mods would make the light too hard methinks?

Yours humbly and apologetically,

December 22, 2009 11:59 AM  
OpenID vickimaddenphotography.com said...

Whooo!! I'm lovin it! Thanks for the post

December 22, 2009 1:44 PM  
Blogger JS said...

David, you mentioned Botero for collapsible backgrounds. Do you prefer them to Lastolite? I'm having trouble finding Botero in Canada, so I thought I'd ask.

December 22, 2009 1:49 PM  
Blogger Myron said...

Hi David,

Great post as always. I have a question regarding the background flash. From the camera's perspective, is the flash behind the background?

Thank you.

December 22, 2009 2:27 PM  
Blogger Steve Perks said...

http://twitter.com/stephenperks is a link to my twitter home page where you can see my Avatar.

I couldn't afford a pro shooter to do it for me so I did a self portrait.

I think I look quite handsome in it but I may remove the cigarette to avoid offence.

December 22, 2009 2:52 PM  
Blogger David said...

Gretsch-


Sorry - did not catch the sarcasm. Didn't help that I had just rejected a half-dozen doofuses popping up with the "AlienBees! That's Not Strobist" comments.

Yours had other redeeming values, so I moderated it in, with comments... :)

Heading out on a shoot -- no time to reconstruct it w/speedlights for you. Mebbe someone else will chime in.

-D

December 22, 2009 2:56 PM  
OpenID RolfLekang.com said...

Great article! My avatar was actually a school project, a self portrait.

I used a SB-800 placed in the book i am reading and a sb-400 to trigg it. It can be seen at http://twitter.com/_Rolf_

December 22, 2009 4:30 PM  
Blogger Curtis Copeland said...

Great insight into head shots for web 2.0!
Thanks for sharing!

Curtis
wedding Photographers

December 22, 2009 5:36 PM  
Blogger Carl said...

This is one of the best articles yet on The Strobist. And I really like the headshots you produced here. I have to admit I don't always like the photos you post, but these are great and I think they also illustrate your point very well.

Also, these give me the first real inspiration I've felt to produce some quality self-portraits.

December 22, 2009 6:18 PM  
Blogger MichaelHope said...

Hi David,

You said, "I only added a little bit of high-pass filtration with hard-light layers to punch it up a little in post."

Despite "living" in PhotoShop, I am not familiar with this post workflow. Could you elaborate in some detail? I'd love to add this to my repertoire.

Many thanks.

December 22, 2009 7:58 PM  
Blogger David said...

Hey, Michael;

It is a little involved for a comment, but I will work up a post in the near future on exactly how I do it. It's a very useful technique for shooting people. Thanks for the Q.

-D

December 22, 2009 10:45 PM  
Blogger Kurt Shoens said...

Example of fooling with high-pass: in Photoshop, duplicate the layer. On the top layer: Filter > Other > High pass .... Select a radius that emphasizes what you want. Change the layer blending mode to one of the family that starts with Overlay. Each has its own look. Experiment with the initial radius, blending mode, and opacity.

If you have Photoshop CS3 or later, you can perform the high pass part as a smart filter so you can independently tune all the parameters.

Use on women over 35 at your own risk. Overuse may become a "look" you regret later. Less is more.

December 23, 2009 1:07 AM  
Blogger Woody said...

Get out of my head, Hobby!

I realized last week I needed to update my self portraits for all of my social networking sites and spent an entire morning at the studio playing around with ideas. Then I saw your post. Nice work as usual, and let me borrow that crystal ball of yours sometime. I could stand to win Lotto.

As for faves, I dig the simple ones: http://twitter.com/zarias http://twitter.com/tysongach and http://twitter.com/toddowyoung

And this guy is OK too: http://twitter.com/coreywoodruff

December 23, 2009 9:05 AM  
Blogger Debbi_in_California said...

What's Graf #5 in the TOS?

(Oh, please. (See graf #5 in the comments TOS.)

Is that Twitter lingo?
I don't twitter. Please speak English for us Older folks David

Debbi

December 23, 2009 9:55 AM  
Blogger Clarky said...

It was so good to see you last week! I love the headshots and had a great time working with you. They definitely add a lot of personality to my work.

I hope you are doing well and enjoying the holiday season.

Look forward to catching up with you soon.

December 23, 2009 11:01 AM  
Blogger Jenn Chushcoff said...

Interesting. Some of my family & friend practice portrait shoots have been showing up on their social accounts. I'll have to consider this. Now, I REALLY need my lighting set-up! Thanks for your always informative posts. http://twitter.com/byjenn

December 23, 2009 11:03 AM  
Blogger Elysian Photography said...

DH, thanks for a great post, and the timing is highly uncanny. I have been approaching people just for this sort of thing, and it was a great refresher (and affirmation) to see a pro with experience chime in on the approach. Kudos and thanks again.

BTW, did you notice you broke Twitter? As usual, the link you posted resulted in an error to the effect of "server too busy" or some such funny nonsense. I'm beginning to think if it wasn't for your blog, some of these other sites wouldn't have the traffic they have.

Awesome.

December 23, 2009 12:13 PM  
Blogger Mark Stevens Photography said...

I'm very curious to know if you'd share some general or specific information on the kind of rate this work brings. I find that corporate headshots are already a tough game because there are enough "pro's" who don't charge pro rates, I see a company being willing to pay less for this than a traditional corporate headshot that will also be used in the press. what's your take?

December 23, 2009 12:42 PM  
Blogger Robert Davidson said...

I have a Botero collapsible background like the one you used here, but for easy portability, I prefer to use my Photek "Peoplepopper". With a collapsible background, you still need something to keep it from falling over or rolling away, which usually means at least an "A" clamp and perhaps a light stand. The "Peoplepopper" is a 6' X 7' background with a stand and two crossbars (1 for the top and 1 for the bottom). The stand, crossbars and the background all fit in the included duffel bag. There is even room left over in the bag to throw in a couple of Bogen/Manfrotto compact light stands, umbrella brackets, and compact umbrellas. That way, I only need to grab one bag with everything in it but the strobelights. (But, there is room for a couple of strobelights in the bag also!). That is my minimal "traveling studio outfit", but I sometimes add the Botero collapsible to it. Sometimes for a quick change in background, I will just put the loop on the Botero over the top of the "Peoplepopper" background setup. I love my "Peoplepopper" so much that I wanted to share this with your readers. (BTW I bought my Peoplepopper from B&H and got a free folding stool -- very sturdy -- included. The stool is too big to fit into the bag with everything else though.)

December 23, 2009 1:22 PM  
Blogger Mind Spirit Camera said...

I offered this very service at the beginning of last summer. No takers, it was casual thing never made very offical. Meanwhile, plenty of my casual shots have ended up as avatars and profile pics for free. :)

December 23, 2009 1:49 PM  
Blogger ana said...

Hi David,

Thanks so much for this post, very informative and inspiring.

This might seem obvious but please bear with me here. What made you decide to use the ABR-800 / Moon Unit in addition to the beauty dish?

Thanks again!

December 23, 2009 2:24 PM  
Blogger Benjamin Feen said...

I love Neil's "Meet Heads" idea! I've been playing much more loosely in similar ways:

For the past year or so I've been gauging my fledgling portrait skills by watching to see whether friends use candid portraits I've shot at parties as their Facebook and Twitter profile photos. Eventually I used Flickr+Moo.com to make up simple business cards to hand out at the events I shoot for fun. In the past couple of months, this has started generating "real" gigs from friends and friends-of-friends.

The interesting thing about that is that I used to do almost exclusively candid portraits, but the "real" gigs have finally given me the motivation to work harder on my studio lighting skills.

Simple bounce flash and luck:
http://twitter.com/alephbass

580EXII + Creative Light 105cm softbox:
http://twitter.com/thesexademic

AB800 + CL 105cm softbox:
http://twitter.com/mhoobler

580EXII + shoot-through umbrella:
http://twitter.com/ragaraja

One of the places where I'm still struggling: post-production. I'm finding myself flailing with sliders in Lightroom and Noise Ninja to find a balance between brutal oversharpening vs. the Glamour Shots Vaseline look. Any guidance there?

December 23, 2009 3:27 PM  
Blogger AlanB said...

David, wonder if you are going to try the Cyber Commander with the Bees? I have followed Strobist with Vivitars, SB600's, your CD set and have a few Bees. Learning a lot and having fun doing it. Thanks for your blog and open information flow. Trying out the AB Ringflash now. One tip - use a 2.5mm to 3.5mm short cable between the cyber transmitter "CST" on the hotshoe to trigger the Ringflash while it triggers the remotes by RF. Cleans up the cabling on the camera/ring a bit if you don't have a PC jack such as on the D90. I haven't tested it yet but did get approval from AB tech support.
AlanB

December 23, 2009 3:58 PM  
Blogger Henrik Sivertsen said...

@MichaelHope,
in PS, just make a copy of your background layer (the original untouched image). Then chose [filter -> other -> high pass]. Adjust the slider to your liking, hit OK and change the layer blend mode to overlay/hard/soft light. Play with the settings and try to duplicate your high passed layer for increased effect...

December 23, 2009 5:18 PM  
Blogger Brendan said...

Michael:

Here are the basic steps for high pass sharpening:

Command+option+shift+e to stamp all visible layers onto a new layer.

Change the blending mode to "overlay" or any of the "soft/hard/etc. light" modes.

Filter>other>high pass.

Try playing with the radius of the high pass filter, the blending mode, the opacity of the layer, and using a layer mask to only sharpen certain areas.

December 23, 2009 5:20 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Micheal beat me to it.. I was first learning photoshop technique when someone showed me a high pass method for skin softening but it really didn't look all that great, especially not like your stuff. I left it behind assuming high pass wasn't the answer. I am EXTREMELY curious now as to your method with high pass, because it looks great (not like the crud I churned out! lol)

December 23, 2009 7:44 PM  
Blogger Itsyourphoto.com said...

I shoot facebook avatars for a living
http://itsyourphoto.blogspot.com/

December 23, 2009 8:30 PM  
OpenID sidceaser said...

A few months back during an "open studios" event, I took social media portraits to all who visited my photography studio. Those who wished to participate were greeted with images they could use on Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

To see them, go to: http://www.ceaserphotography.com/artwalk.html

Cheers,
Sid Ceaser
Ceaser Photography
Nashua NH

December 24, 2009 12:20 AM  
Blogger Zilch said...

Don't most of these sites crop the photo down to be square? (Facebook does at least)

Shouldn't you shoot/edit with a 1:1 aspect ratio in mind in order to have a usable shot? The examples seem to be portrait...

December 24, 2009 8:39 AM  
Blogger Graham & Graham Photography said...

Great post--another question for you. What's the technique for the online presentation? The headshot strips. Is this a Photoshop action?

December 25, 2009 1:29 AM  
Blogger Graham & Graham Photography said...

is this a Photoshop action for the headshot collection? Love the presentation.

December 25, 2009 1:31 AM  
OpenID el-ruso said...

David, I was wondering - why did you gridded the rimlights?

December 26, 2009 11:30 AM  
Blogger Joey said...

hi! i think this one is really cool...there is a photographer in the philippines whose been doing headshots since 2007 see link below ;) and he specializes on doing headshots for social networking sites.

http://www.pbase.com/niccolo/headshotc07

hope you guys like it...but would appreciate if you could decipher his post processing technique for me hehe

December 26, 2009 11:36 PM  
Blogger James said...

David,

You mentioned a "harrington book" in reference to pricing. what book is this?

thanks!

December 29, 2009 8:45 PM  
Blogger hawakeye said...

Here is one I actually need to update..... I used it for Halloween and haven't changed it yet.

http://twitter.com/account/profile_image/weisseubanks?hreflang=en

December 30, 2009 5:09 PM  
Blogger gbenz said...

Gave this setup a go and loved the results... (http://carbonsilver.com/blog/2009/12/29/avatar-minneapolis-portrait-photographer/)

...But am curious how others think about replacing ring flash for subjects who wear glasses? A reflector to bounce the key light back up can work, but am curious if anyone's tried a 3rd strip light or something similar (I just used the reflector so far, but it's wide enough to reflect in glasses with a large curve, like Oakleys).

Thanks for the inspiration for a fun project David!

January 02, 2010 2:08 AM  
Blogger bobusn said...

Thanks, David.

On the subject of social media...you may find this series interesting.

http://www.relationship-economy.com/?series=691

YMMV. Cheers!

January 03, 2010 3:11 PM  
Blogger Peace & Love said...

I really liked this post. I work in Social Media and also an amateur photographer. Has anyone heard of the site Fotobabble? It's a site where you can create "Talking Photos". I've been using the site for my photography and recording a description about my photo. It's free, fun, and easy to create these fotobabbles and share them with your friends and family. Here is a fotobabble I created with a photo I took when I was in Florida a few months ago. http://www.fotobabble.com/m/Sk5JU05EMTJZSFU9 I think this website would be a great tool for photographers. Let me know what you guys think.

January 12, 2010 10:10 PM  
Blogger Eugene said...

You know what's crazy?! I work for the company you did the headshots for, lol. Awesome job! Now when I give them my pitch to do photos for the company, I guess you'll be my competition, thanks a lot lol.

January 15, 2010 4:36 PM  
Blogger klebanc said...

http://twitter.com/kurtleblanc Thanks for the inspiration!

February 12, 2010 1:31 AM  
Blogger Jazzie Casas said...

I think that social media is a reliable medium (at this moment) that only provides content and promotes articles which people really find useful. Also, most people that have a lot of follower are trustworthy and can be considered authorities in their fields. Of course this is know, if google anounces or it’s observed that the results are influenced a lot by social media, I can only imagine that there will be a lot of quid pro quo’s between users for better rankings which will once again lead to a situation like the one today with link building.

February 04, 2011 8:25 AM  

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