It's unusual for me to be up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday. But there I was stirring my cup of hot tea before anyone else was up at home. I knew that by 6.30 in the morning my kids and wife would be down for their breakfast, but I made a quick left turn out of my driveway and onto New Haven at 5.30 that morning. It wasn't a particularly cold morning, but I still clung onto my NorthFace jacket as I boarded the Metro North train to New York City.
The reason for the hustle and bustle? I was heading to the Big Apple to learn a fresh new approach to creating business portraits.
Making It To New York City
Dylan Patrick, was in town to walk a small group of us through his Cinematic Headshots approach. A few months ago, when I saw the crew at FStoppers promote their then new tutorial, I knew I wanted in. The headshots looked and felt different. I mean, go ahead and take a quick look for yourself.
Unlike the stodgy portraits against a maroon backdrop that we have all seen and perhaps avoided doing, Dylan Patrick's Cinematic Headshots offer something truly fresh and new. So, I had to make the three-hour one way trip into the city to explore and learn from him.
When I walked in to the studio Dylan and his wife, Sass, had secured for the day I was greeted warmly and we got down to business right away. Dylan set the tone of the workshop by making it clear that successful headshots were about three important things – your subject's expression, the quality of the light and body language. He walked us through with examples, talked about the gear and quickly jumped into showing the subtle differences between good headshots and great ones.
Dylan Patrick's The Cinematic Headshot Workshop
Dylan patiently worked with each of us, photographing us by turn so that we could each watch and listen to the way he photographed his subjects. I enjoyed how he prompted a change in posture or an expression by simply engaging with his subjects in a positive and jovial manner. Keeping it light and almost funny is his way of relaxing his subjects. Your approach may be different.
After a quick lunch, which was included in the price of the workshop, we jumped back into the two shooting bays to photograph each other. I have got to say that I really appreciated this opportunity to not only photograph my peers but also be photographed by them because it gave me a good idea of how my potential clients often feel on the other side of the camera. As soon as we were done photographing each other, we were introduced to Michelle and Ian, our models for the day.
Borrowing Dylan's Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens I photographed them both. Below are my favorites from this short session:
The Required Gear
The shoot requires essentially two strobes filtered through modifiers. Dylan used both Lastolite and Elinchrom octaboxes. A reflector below the subject was used as a fill light. The lights we used were Nikon SB900‘s and Nikon SB700‘s. Because I use a Nikon system, I wasn't totally paying attention to what my colleagues with Canon gear were using but they were also set up to create incredible portraits that day thanks to the Canon strobes loaned from B&H Photo Video.
Also a critical part of the set up were Dylan's PocketWizard MiniTT1 and Pocketwizard FlexTT5‘s. Allowing us to control both the flashes from the camera was a PocketWizard AC3 Zone Controller. A few test shots to get within range for your exposure and you are off to making some truly great portraits for your subjects!
The Cinematic Headshot Tutorial on FStoppers
Now, Dylan isn't on the workshop circuit and so catching him in New York City was a bit of a blessing. While he will be back in May, you can buy the tutorial download now.
The Cinematic Headshot by Dylan Patrick and FStoppers is sold for $199. But use this code: TIFFINBOXFS to receive a $40 discount through October 31st, 2015. Yes, I like to hook you all up! How does that sound to you?
Want to know more about The Cinematic Headshot? Just watch this video by FStoppers video :
Other Photographers Who Rock The Cinematic Headshot
Still not convinced? Other than Dylan Patrick, here are some other photographers who are rocking the cinematic headshot:
If you can, look these two guys up on Facebook:
If you can't make it to one of Dylan's workshops, the alternative is to learn from him through the tutorial. Get the digital download for just $159 now through the FStoppers store. Remember, you have to use TIFFINBOXFS when you check out to get the discount for a limited time!