Headshots That Stand Out

Three Lighting Setups for Stand-Out Headshots

You don't need a ton of gear to create great headshots. In this video, Sal Cincotta will show you three of his most popular headshot lighting setups: natural light, strobes, and constant light.

There’s more to headshots than white backgrounds. Today, business people have needs that extend far beyond traditional business cards; social media, LinkedIn, websites, marketing material and more. Sal will show you three of his most popular lighting setups for headshots: natural light, strobes, and constant light. He’ll also touch on posing, pricing, file delivery and more.

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About this course

How should you charge for headshots?

Commercial licenses? On-location fees? Hourly? Per employee? Sal will help demystify pricing for corporate headshots.

delivering a variety of shots

The image that works for social media might not be the same image that works on a billboard or a Facebook campaign. Understanding your client’s business and how they will want to use their headshots is key. See how Sal uses this knowledge to shoot and upsell a variety of image compositions.


Sal's favorite lens for headshots

In this shoot, Sal uses the 85mm lens to get a shallow depth of field and bring the focus to his subject.

posing + direction

For headshot clients who are not models and may not be comfortable in front of the camera, direction and posing is extremely important. Watch how Sal directs his clients and focuses on the details to get the most flattering shots and angles.

to edit or not to edit

Save time and maximize your profits by only editing the files your clients purchase. Learn how Sal communicates this process from the moment his headshot clients book until it’s time to select images after the shoot.

What type of files do you need to deliver?

Do you need to deliver RAW files? JPG? Cropped for different social media platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook? See how Sal simplifies file delivery for his headshot clients.

lighting setup

Final Images

Click the thumbnails to see full size

This Post Has 23 Comments

  1. How do you explain you offer digitals as a stand alone item for headshots but not for a senior/engagement session?

    1. it’s easy. how does a restaurant explain that there are pancakes on the breakfast menu, but not on the dinner menu? It’s just not. Don’t over complicate things. ๐Ÿ™‚ Selling a single digital image is what you are offering and selling and pricing to the client. For a senior session or wedding – that is NOT what i am offering or selling. hope that makes sense. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Andy Zavodny

    Great teaching as always Thanks a ton for sharing your information and experience! At $200 dollars are you offering hair and makeup to your clients, if so is that because you have someone there in studio all the time and its just kind of convenient for you? You mentioned having a group of doctors coming in over a 4 hour window and providing hair and make up to them. Is that just kind of a one off since there was quite a few coming in and you could expect that from the sales you would spend the money on hair and make up? and normally if only like one or a couple people coming in you wouldn’t provide that for them?

    1. no scenario we include makeup in fee. thats a separate fee that they have to pay direct to HMUA. The doctor scenario – we are not providing – think of it as more – coordinating. They can use our area, but we are not paying for it – no money is touching our hands – they pay direct for that. hope that makes more sense. thanks for watching!

  3. Sal, thanks ! Simple teaching.

  4. One of the questions that was asked…what size images do you give to the client? You answered in resolution, but I think they were more asking, is the final image size 8×10, 11×14, etc. So for the standard color and black & white at full resolution, what is the size you provide? Same question for the web resolution images. Thanks!
    PS. Another great tutorial!!!

    1. size/resolution in this case is the same for the context of the convo. we give them full res jpg files… so whatever we shoot – is what we send them. no downsizing. could be a 24mb file or larger. web res – we do 144dpi and 1800 pixels on the long edge. and thank you!! glad you enjoyed it. hope that helps.

  5. Thank you for giving back to the community, you always cracking me up! greetings from the Holy Land

  6. what is the advantage of tethering?

    1. lol – how else would i show you what i am taking pictures of. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Thanks Sal, this course was very helpful, informative and extremely easy to follow… you explained everything so well in the different setups and why you were doing the shoot in such a way… thanks again.

  8. When shooting natural lighting on a female with oily skin and shine on the forehead, cheek bones and chin, is there a way to illimanate a lot of the shine to where it will not stand out as much? Otherwise, This is great information, thank you for your time.

    1. yes of course. this is a very common issue. here is what we do.

      1) ALWAYS rec professional hair and makeup – problem solved.
      2) BLOT – if you see it – your camera will too. SO BLOT them yourself.
      3) LAST RESORT – post-production. we have had to fix this countless times to deliver a solid final product to our clients.

  9. Very Informative, especially for a Landscape/nature photographer…who doesn’t work with portraits. Thanks….really enjoyed.

  10. Good quality video. However, would you please consider adding closed-captioning for the deaf and hard-of-hearing?

  11. Excellent job, Thanks for your insights.

  12. The tethering issues are from Lightroom! I have the same damn issues.

  13. Sal, thanks for your terrific videos. I love that they are real time, warts and all. Makes it more authentic. Looking forward to more.

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