Choosing to do your actor headshots outdoors or in a studio is one of the first things to consider when booking your photographer.
What’s the difference? Basically, the difference between indoor and outdoor shots comes down to one main thing: lighting.
For my headshots, I always look for soft directional light. I love shooting both indoors and outdoors and replicate a soft directional light in both scenarios. However, there are times when outdoor shoots just won’t be suitable. For this reason, you need to have a headshot photographer who can deliver an equally strong studio look.
Most actors think rain is a major problem when considering outdoor shoots but usually rain is not an issue. The outdoors location I use is covered and I know a lot of headshot photographers also use covered locations. *Do check with your photographer when booking though! I’ve frequently taken my best shots during a downpour, as the light is lovely and soft then.
- Fresh-faced: outdoor shots tend to have a freshness to them that brings a lot of character to the shots.
- Nature is providing the lighting and so it’s much easier for less experienced photographers to take good shots.
- Low temperatures: noses and ears turn red and facial expressions get really stiff. *Always bring warm clothes layers or hand warmers if you have them.
- Wind: hair (especially very long hair) is very hard to control and that perfect blow-dry can come quickly undone. *Bring hairspray, hair clips and ties so you can pin some hair back.
I shoot in a 1300 sq ft studio, which along with everything else is great for tea breaks!
- Comfort: usually have more time and privacy to work, which leads to actors being at ease and relaxed.
- Control: in studio shots, clients can manage exactly how they want their actor headshots to look. As the weather element is removed, hair, make-up will look exactly how they are styled at the mirror.
- Skill: you need to be skilled photographer to take great studio headshots. Actor headshots taken by someone inexperienced in a studio can look flat or overly manicured.
- Energy: sometimes going outside really livens a client up. It brings some energy to the shoot when a long studio session can get tiring.
Best of Both
In my shoots, I begin in the studio and then move outdoors. In the comfort of the studio, the actor can relax and discover what works for them. Then when we’ve covered all studio bases, we move outdoors to capture that fresh-faced look. As we’ve been shooting for a while, this makes the outdoor session of the shoot very efficient. And in January- efficient outdoor shooting is key.