Tag Archives: technical

Headshots – Business or Acting

photography business

Business or acting

The line between a business  and acting look   is getting a little blurred –  which I think is awesome!

The two forms go well together.  The traditional stale business shot is making way for exciting looks that can pass for a theatrical or commercial look.

What it does is allow the client to seem a lot more personable and human.

Still important is the wardrobe.

This link helps give suggestions on what to wear-  it really make a big difference to the shot.

What to Wear

This may be different to what you might wear for an acting headshot.

Regardless on the type of shot, the eyes and mouth are the key elements to a strong headshot.

The eyes tell the audience if you are decent sort of person.  That’s where a really good photographer comes into play.  They need to make your eyes sparkle- either in studio or in editing.

With bloodshot eyes it is unacceptable for the photographer to not clean those up in post editing.


Whether the headshot is for either business or acting, the key to getting the client to show their true self becomes important.  So to do that?

1-  get them to talk about stuff they love-  hobbies. family, job, pets.

That’s when you’ll get a great reaction.

We are proud to be the choice photographers for executive, corporate and acting head shots in the Midwest.

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Senior Portraits

Headshots  Senior Pictures

St Louis Headshots

Senior Portraits St Louis Missouri Illinois Headshots Photographer Family Engagement Photography

Posted in Portraits

Canon 28-300 L Field Report Photography

Canon 28-300 L Field Report Photography


St Louis Wedding Photography Engagement Illinois Missouri Photographer

Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM Lens

Against my better judgment I rented the 28-300 for a sporting event I was hired to cover.  I thought the wide zoom would be a fun lens to bring to my backup   my trusted 300 2.8.

While the 28-300 has an impressive range that it can cover, the quality of the images zoomed out are not worth the range.  Between 250-300 the images are noticeably soft.  Image contrast and color saturation is also too low in all areas.

This lens needs a mono pod because it is heavy.  But even with the monopod and a super fast shutter speed  the images were unusable and unsale-able  for print.  The only images that were decent were around the 150mm range and f 5.6.  At f5.6 there is too much of the background in focus to make the image pop.

It’s a fun lens, but for paid assignments it is not going to work.

Which lens does work?


 Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens

This is a monster that can win every battle.  It is heavy and requires a monopod.  And it’s not cheap.  But the image quality is incredible.

Razor sharp at 2.8, intense color saturation, and good contrast.  If you nail the exposure, then every image is spot on.  It is really incredible how good each image looks!

There are so many times as I edit through Lightroom where I catch my breath because of how incredibly sharp the images look.   And the Bokeh—- intense and buttery.

I have relied on the 300 for the last 8 years for certain events, and it has never failed me.

If you need to use a lens for an event-  get the 300 2.8.  You will not regret it.


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What makes a Strong Black and White Photograph

St Louis Photography

Shari Photography

St Louis Wedding Photography Illinois Missouri Engagement Family Photograph

Great black and white images have strong contrasting values –  in other words the image needs the full range of values from pure black to pure white.

Once an image has that range of pure black through to pure white will it have the necessary density of colors to make it a strong image.

Too many black and white images are grey to whitish.  These images look  flat and lack the density of each range of black to white.

The lazy way to create a BW image is in Lightroom to click the BW tab below the exposure graph in the Develop Module.  The image will always end up flat.

The better option is to use the Black and White sliders to raise the values of those colors.

Black and white images can look amazing but only if you have a strong contrasting range of black to white-But without losing detail-  you can see the black tree bark and the white wisps of clouds.

Canon 5D Mk2


f 9 1/500 ISO 200

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Using Silver Reflector on Portraits

St Louis Photography


St Louis Headshot Portraits Wedding Photographer Missouri Illinois

Using silver reflectors is a great way to brighten faces on portraits.  Bright face are an essential component to a strong portrait.

The best place is to lay the reflector flat around midsection of the client.  I usually use a table if I don’t have a special holder.

Angle of the reflector is based on where the main light source is coming from.  The key is to have even light on the face.  This will help bring out catch lights in the eyes.

I don’t use the white or the gold reflectors.  They create really odd colors on the skin that are hard to work with in port editing.

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Camera Angle for Headshots

St Louis Headshot

Headshot St Louis

Headshot Photography St Louis Photographer Missouri Illinois Wedding Engagement

A common question I get during photography seminars I give deals with camera position for headshots.

There are many different positions but the one you should NEVER take is to photograph the client from below.

Some problems-  it adds 5 lbs to the face, lets you see up the nostrils, makes the eyes squint (not a trusting image) and gives the impression of a power hungry egomaniac.

My preferred angle is from slightly above the eye line.  I’m a tall guy so I can comfortable position my camera in this spot.  I try to keep the lens around the forehead.  In this way the client is not straining to look up, but instead creates a lovely curve of the neck.  this is perfect for women,  but not so much for men.

It also helps with keeping the eyes open wider in a more natural way.

Canon 5 D Mk2

85 1.2 L

f.3.2 1/500 ISO 50

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Using Reflections for a Portrait

wedding Photography

Groom and Poses

Wedding Photography St Louis Photographer Shari Photography Missouri Illinois.

Look for reflections to create an impact in a posed image.  You can find reflective surfaces everywhere-  they don’t always have to be a mirror.  In fact I try to avoid mirrors as much as possible because that is what most other photographers would use.

Look for any reflective surface that may carry the image-  glass, water, tabletop, reflective wall  etc…

In this image, the indoor pool was off the lobby of the hotel.  We were waiting to leave via shuttle and I saw the opportunity.  The image was also special for the guys because most of them were college swimmers.

As always, I don’t try to pose the boys too much.  Just get them to huddle and they will take of the rest with their body language. It was a quick shot setup and we were on the way.

 Look for reflective surfaces-  they can be found everywhere.  They add a lovely dimension to the composition.

Canon 5D M2

24-70 2.8L

f 4 1/500 ISO 400

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Window Light Portraits


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St Louis Photography Wedding Engagement

Question-  What is the easiest way to take an amazing portrait that has depth and body in the faces of the subject?

Answer-  Put them next to a window.

What makes the above portrait work? Even clean light that is soft.  It helps that there is a white wall to reflect the light back on the subjects.  But regardless,  window light is wonderful to capture. If the light source is too harsh, softening it is easy to accomplish with a mesh curtain.

One common problem could be the shadows on one side of the face. This can have a really dramatic effect, but may not be preferable in some images. This is easily corrected bu turing the subjects slightly to the light.

In this image I over exposed by 1/3 stop to brighten the image. F4 is the preferred size to keep everyone in focus.

Of course, having a beautiful daughter standing next to my lovely parents really helps too.

Canon 5D Mk2

Canon 35mm 1.4L

f4  1/250  ISO 400   1/3 +




Posted in Technical

Night Photographs

Photographs by wedding and headshot photographer


St Louis Photographer

This is the Tate Gallery on the South Bank of London.  I took this from the Millenium Bridge at night.   I was struck by the light pouring from the window which contrasted nicely with the dark facade of the building. The Tate is a huge building so it can be difficult to get it all in without a wide.  Sometimes it’s better to focus on a smaller feature of large structure.   I had to wait for the people gathered infront of the window to move.  The added bonus was the lady on the inside which gives the image a human feel.  Exposed for the light in the window.

Canon 5d mk2

Canon 35mm 1.4

f.2 1/60  ISO 4000

London at Dusk

St Louis Wedding Photographer

This is St Mary’s Abbot in Church Street taken from Kensignton Gardens.  I exposed for the sky in order to keep the foreground dark.

Posted in Technical

Winter Sky Over Ottawa

Photography Night

St Louis Photography

S Louis Wedding Engagement Photography

I’ve taken loads of these type pictures, but this is my favorite.  Dec 23 2013

It’s a combination of red sky and amazing cloud cover that makes this a solid image.

And on a side note-  Air Canada rock!  A terrific airline.

Canon   5D Mk 2

Canon 35mm 1.4 L

f 2   1/125  ISO 4000

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