© Peter Dressel Photography

Lighting a Business Headshot

Lighting A Business Headshot

Lighting a business headshot is important but simple. Here are tips on how to do it with just one light and a reflector.

Use A Large Soft Light Source

I prefer a natural look when shooting a business headshot as if my subject is standing near a large window. For this I use a large seven foot umbrella with a diffuser.  It’s big and provides very soft flattering light.

Headshot of a male attorney

Use A Reflector As Fill

I prefer directional lighting as opposed to flat lighting.  Directional lighting will give more shadows. To lighten those shadows you’ll need to have some sort of fill light.  Here are three common ways to provide fill light.

Add a Another Strobe Light

While this method works well,  I don’t like two catchlights in the eyes and find them cumbersome to manipulate.  I’d rather not deal with constantly futzing with a strobe light.

V-Flats

The whole portrait world is in love with these and for good reason.  They provide big white fill light without adding a second catchlight and you can move the V-Flat around and get different degrees of fill light.  While the results with V-Flats are excellent I find them cumbersome to move around and they take up too much space.

Collapsable Reflector Clipped to a Light Stand

This is my favorite way to provide good fill light.  I use a 42×72 white reflector clipped to a light stand.  This is large enough to give me fill light the whole length of the subject’s body, it takes up little space and is easy to move around. 

Rim Lights/Hair Lights

While these added lights can be lovely they add another layer of technology to deal with and the subject has to be in exactly the right spot for every shot.  And while they can look great, they don’t, in my opinion, look natural. 

Keep It Simple

Using one big soft light and a reflector is easy to set up, easy to repeat and easy to use and most importantly looks beautiful.  

© Peter Dressel Photography