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FREELessons: 15Length: 1.8 hours

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3.2 Second Nature

Before you start charging people for headshots, you must be able to make good exposures and get your lighting right. In this lesson you will learn the importance of creating repeatable lighting setups to speed up your prep time and help your client feel more comfortable.

3.2 Second Nature

Hi, I'm Scott Chanson. Welcome back to Headshot Photography. In this lesson, we're gonna cover how and why the technical side of your photography has to become second nature, when you're shooting headshots. Do you remember the first time that you drove a car? Or have you been in the car with a new driver lately? Do you remember how intensely focused you were, on all of the things that you had to control? You had to give the car just enough gas. You had to be ready to slam on the brakes at any time. You had to carefully steer the car to stay between the lines, and you had to keep an eye on all the cars moving around you. Maybe you also had to pay attention to what gear you were in, and when to press the clutch, and when to change to a new gear. This is a ton of stuff to think about, and it can be super difficult and stressful. But the amazing thing is, after just a few months of practicing, driving starts to become second nature. In fact, most of us can now get in a ca,r and keep track of all of those things that it takes to drive a car, without even thinking. You can probably carry on a good conversation with a passenger, or listen to your favorite song while you're singing the lyrics out loud. This is exactly what needs to happen to you as a photographer. When you first start out, you're trying to keep so many things under control. Like what the f stop should be, and is this shutter speed fast enough to negate motion blur, and what about the light? Is it soft enough, is it coming from the right direction? That's a lot to think about and to keep under control. And you will no doubt be overwhelmed by all of it. Until you've practiced enough, and you get to the point where all of these things just start to work together, and they start to work themselves out without much conscious thought from you. And then it's just like driving a car. And you can concentrate on more than just taking photos. You can concentrate on your client. And you can concentrate on interacting with them. In the real world, this means several things have to happen for you as a photographer. First is you have to learn how to see light. You need to understand and begin to see light the way that your camera sees light. Most new photographers are so frustrated, that cameras don't produce images that look like what they're seeing with their own eyes. With practice, you will not only learn to get over this, but to actually use it as a strength. Since cameras see light different than our eyes, you can show the world things that the human eye can't see naturally. The next thing you need to do, is you need to look at a ton of great photos. When I was first starting out, and still today, I spend hours looking through the portfolios of photographers that I love. I spent time dissecting every image, and noticing all the little details that separate their photos from everyone else's. I once heard that when the U.S. Treasury is training a new agent to spot counterfeit money, they don't give them tons of lessons on all of the different ways that money can be counterfeited, so that they can recognize counterfeiting techniques. No, they make them spend countless hours handling real money. Until they get to the point that anything counterfeit just stands out as feeling wrong. The same is true with photography. If you spend enough time looking at great photos, you will develop the ability to immediately recognize, when your own photos are not great and when they are great. And you'll be able to tell when they don't feel just right. Finally, it really helps to simplify your photography process, and to distill it down to the bare essentials necessary to get great images. Sometimes we get so caught up with trying to be fancy, that we forget to just get good images. For this reason, I usually spend at least the first 75% of my shoot, getting good, solid images that match what I'm showing in my portfolio. If there's some new technique I want to try out, I save that for after I've already nailed the shoot, and I feel like I don't need to get any more great images. It's important to keep moving forward as a photographer, but it's just as important to produce consistent results for your clients. Another way to simplify your photography process, might seem pretty counter-intuitive at first, but hear me out. By using off camera flash and more of a studio setting, you can simplify your photography. Sure, the setup is more complex, and getting the lights dialed in just right might take a little longer in the setup. But the beauty is, once everything is set it won't change unless you want it to. Unlike natural light, where you constantly have to adjust to changing light since the sun is moving across the sky, and clouds are moving across the sun. Flashes are your friend, and there really is no reason to be afraid of them. By following these simple guidelines, and giving yourself the time and patience to practice them, you are well on your way to being able to shoot head shots as second nature. Which will come in very handy, because it'll allow you to calmly and comfortably interact with your subjects. Which brings us to our next lesson where we will learn all about how to use people skills to get the best headshot possible.

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