My Lighting for Headshots.
Updated: Sep 14
Lighting for headshots is all about illuminating the face. The photograph should never be about the light or the background or the clothes. My subject's expression and character is the star of the show. And their presence is the only thing that people should come away with after seeing a person's headshot.
From a technical perspective, like my mentor Peter Hurley, I feel lighting in executive headshots needs to be focused on showing my subjects' features, which is why I love the new LED light panels. I use them to fill my subject's face with a clean and crisp light by bringing the light very close to them.
Creatively I use my LED panels to create a tightly focused, shadowless “field” of light, almost like a tiny diffuse sun righting front of my subject. My light embraces my subject's faces, wrapping around them lovingly opening all their features for admiration.
My headshots show remarkable detail without the harsh, unforgiving, sharp edges and specular hotspots you get with flash or incandescent lights. It’s very similar to the light you get on a foggy day, but rather than being completely enveloped by the light, which will smooth out a lot of fine detail, I direct it into my subject's face in a manner to bring that detail out on a spectacular fashion.
Dean Birinyi is an award-winning photographer, founder, and owner of Silicon Valley Headshots and Professional Headshots Palo Alto. He specializes in expression coaching to guide his customers on presenting themselves as confident, approachable professionals ready for the next opportunity.