Columns » A Photo Life

Relaxed and natural head shots made simple


Owner Brandi Martinez. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Owner Brandi Martinez.
My good friend Brandi Martinez, owner of the new Blush Dry Bar Salon in the Ivywild neighborhood, asked me to photograph head shots of her staff.

One of the goals I have in making a good headshot is to try and capture a sense of someone's personality. I believe a headshot shouldn’t be boring to look at, and it should in some small way tell us something about the person in the picture.
Makeup artist Julia Spenadel - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Makeup artist Julia Spenadel
Photographing a room full of female stylists is easy work, to be honest, and a lot more fun than photographing head shots of attorneys in a stuffy corporate office. My first objective was to make sure everyone had plenty of choices. So, I set up two areas to photograph in knowing that two looks are always better than one.
Lash tech Sheena Ibanez - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Lash tech Sheena Ibanez
The first set of head shots I made using an off-camera flash, with a shoot-thru umbrella. I seated everyone in a nearby chair. Then, using a long lens, I photographed from a slightly higher angle than the subject.
Lash technician Natasha Bell - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Lash technician Natasha Bell
This combination of a long lens, higher angle and professional off-camera lighting lends itself to creating a flattering and professional looking head shot.
Associate Lilli Mckeown - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Associate Lilli Mckeown
In the second set, though, I wanted a bit more relaxed and natural look. I asked each person to stand and then, using my favorite Canon 50mm f1.2 lens, I photographed them at eye level.
Lash technician Rebeka Cardindale - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Lash technician Rebeka Cardindale
For this second set of pictures, I asked them to look off camera and also to move around a bit as I photographed. By instructing my subjects to move, I get a shot that looks, to me anyways, more natural and spontaneous.
Associate Alisia Amos - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Associate Alisia Amos
I’ve included two pictures of each stylist, one in color with the off-camera flash and long lens and the other in black and white to illustrate the two different looks I was trying to achieve.

Sean Cayton is a wedding photojournalist of 19 years and operates a successful, award-winning wedding photography studio in Colorado Springs. He's also an award-winning photojournalist. Sean is happily married to the love of his life (also his business partner) and is father to three beautiful children. When he’s not working, Sean can be found outside flying kites with his kids, hitting golf balls or casting a fly rod to hungry trout.

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