Headshots and portrait lighting

Started Jun 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
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rskoss
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Headshots and portrait lighting
Jun 20, 2012

I'm watching Peter Hurley's video and looking at his portfolio of headshots.

Is the difference between a headshot and a portrait (other than the latter is confined to the head and possibly shoulders) that a headshot does not have shadows and in a portrait we should light to create pleasing shadows? I noticed that Peter's lighting setup has lights above, below, and on both sides of the subject - so no shadows are going to come out of that.

Now here's my real question... what's the difference between what Peter is doing, lighting from all sides, and using an on-camera flash? We're taught to get the flash off the camera from flash 101 because on-camera flash produces harsh light. I thought harsh light meant had shadows, and we usually want gradual transitions from light to shadow. But if there are no shadows, what's the difference between how Peter lights and what the DMV does for driver's licenses?

It seems that the more I learn, the less I know....

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