Improve your Profile Photos

Better Photography, Environmental Portraits, Herff Jones, HJeDesign, Mobile Photography, mod design, Photography, Photography Challenge, Square One

Adding mods to your yearbook spread is common practice, and including a head shot by a quote is a great way to include more student voices in your yearbook. Unfortunately too often, little thought is given to these head shots.  There are some simple changes you can make to your process that will greatly improve the photos in your book, and the people your photographing will thank you for it when the book is printed and they look amazing!

BAD – BETTER – BEST

  1. the first is the typical, slap your subject against the lockers. The result, they look like they are in a lineup.
  2. The second is better by simply turning the subject sideways and having them lean on the locker
  3. The third is the best, you not only have the subject lean on the locker, you also walk down the hall where some natural light is coming in behind you, removing the shadows from her face. Be warned adding a harsh flash will not give you the same effect.

These photos were taken with the help of the Libertyville High School Staff.

There are other options for getting a good head shot, that are just as easy. Invest in a backdrop.

TO CUT OUT OR NOT CUT OUT

  1. The first example is from New Trier High School. They invested in a gray backdrop that is attached to the wall of their yearbook room. This option gives a clean even background, with no need to cut out your subject.
  2. The second option is to invest in a green screen like Maine West High School. As you can see, they also have a light that helps illuminate the subject in a more natural way. Using a green screen will help you when cutting out your subject in Photoshop. Please review the short video on making a cut out posted on this website. Click Here.

In both cases, the subject should not stand up against the backdrop and you should avoid a flash on top of the camera.

The last option would be to take an environmental portrait. This type will take the most time and planning, but get you the biggest wow factor. The idea is to plan the environment that makes the most sense in telling the story of the event being covered.

IMPORTANT FACTORS IN PLANNING AN ENVIRONMENTAL PORTRAIT

  1. Angle and leading lines
  2. Depth of field
  3. Vertical or horizontal
  4. Foreground – background relationship
  5. Lighting
  6. Props

As always, if you need help achieving your goal, please reach out to us.

Maureen & Melissa

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