Heather – Miss Rodeo Headshot | American Portraits


Heather’s – 2013 rodeo contestant head shot.

I had the opportunity to do a fun portrait this week. Heather is competing for Spokane Rodeo Queen and we just did her portrait for the photogenics category of the event. We were going for a traditional setup, as judges in these expect classic posing and simple light. I still managed to sneak in a little ratio to sculpt her face and to have a little fun with the pose, which Heather did beautifully on. I’ve just made up the prints and they came our great. This was fun for me because it’s a bit outside of the approach I normally take. I did Heather’s senior portraits years ago and we printed a sweeping environmental portrait. But the need for specific look made me focus on the light and the details in order to produce this simple but inviting classic portrait.

It was fun and I think Heather will do well… Gav

For Photographers. How it was made…

Technical Notes: Canon MK2, 70-200 2.8 @100mm, f6.3, 1/50, ISO640, Induro Tripod
Lightroom 4, Photoshop, Seim Effects tools.

I lit this simply using LED panels. I used a 500 like this for the main and a smaller 160 like this for the fill. I like constant light for a solo portrait as I don’t have to worry about what the strobes are doing. I can interact with the model and refine the set without extra distractions, yet know exactly what I’m going to get. I used a 1/2 CTL gel on the main light and spot metered for Zone 6 on the face (more on zone in my EXposed series). The hard work was done before I pressed the shutter.

On the post processing  side that left me with time to focus on the details. I use a preset from the new Color Fantasies 2 to start off. We quickly narrowed it down to the one image and I did some final detail work in LR and PS, including using Portraitist from Hollywood Effects 2. A bit of final tonal work and we had it. My goal was a portrait that felt stunning but also felt real. I think it worked our well.

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6 Responses to Heather – Miss Rodeo Headshot | American Portraits

  1. Gary Baxter says:

    I really like how you lit this portrait. Will you share more about which LED panels you used?

  2. gavinseim says:

    Sure thing Gary. Just added some notes. Thanks for the kind words… Gav

  3. ed krisiak says:

    I like it and to think you can achieve this kind of result with simple lighting. Did you use any modifiers?

  4. gavinseim says:

    Thanks. We had a white reflector board camera right, but that’s about it.

  5. Tom Nash-III says:

    When you said the LED’s ‘just worked’, to you mean they were almost not enough? I think the protrait lighting is awesome!

  6. gavinseim says:

    Thanks Tom. And no, I meant they worked beautifully.


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