My Session with Irina: Business Corporate Headshot

Irina already had a decent headshot she received from a photographer booth set up at the Sephora makeup counter. Apparently they sometimes have a photographer provide a 15 minute headshot session as part of a makeup package. From my experience, 15 minutes is still “nervous freak out time,” when clients are still trying to figure out how to let loose. However I think the photographer did a very good job, given the time constraint (it also helps that Irina is quite beautiful)

Although the deal was pretty good for the price, Irina wasn’t 100% happy with her shot. I asked her what she didn’t like about it, and she mentioned that the skin tone was too bright, too washed out, and overall, the girl in the photo just didn’t seem like her. She was also distracted by the bright background, and wanted something slightly darker.


Irina’s previous headshot

Irina's original headshot. Very good glamour lighting, but not quite what she was looking for. Also shot with a 35mm lens, which distorted her proportions


After analyzing the shot, I came to the conclusion that:


  1. The photographer used a glamour style light setup with a silver reflector, which washed out her naturally beautiful brown skin tone
  2. 2. The photographer used a wide lens, which distorted her proportions.


I shot with a portrait lens to get rid of any weird distortion. As for lighting, I set up a similar beauty dish clamshell lighting setup that the first photographer used, only I went with a diffused softbox instead of a silver reflector. I opted for the softbox because the silver reflector is too high contrast for a business professional headshot. In terms of lighting, her skin lost the “punch,” of her previous headshot, but I was ok with that, because glamour wasn’t the look Irina was going for. And here is a very important lesson I learned in design school: give the client exactly what they need! If Irina were a model, glamour lighting would have been perfectly appropriate. For a financial consultant, however, a glitzy LinkedIn headshot just doesn’t make sense. Irina wanted a practical, authentic headshot that represented her accurately, and that is what I tried to give her.

She was happy with the result, and I was happy to have another client walk out of my studio 100% happy with her new profile shot!



Professional business corporate headshot of woman in green shirt against grey backdrop

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