"Persuing personal projects will get you more work."
Beginning of April I was approached by an agency Young & Rubicam Prague to create series of portraits (headshots) for a client Ceska Pojistovna. It was given to specifically because of my previous engagement in the Agency where I've discussed with their producer my personal work - headshots. I've had a lot of experience in pulling the best out of people when they're in front of the camera.
My advice is this, pursue your personal work, do what you want to do, not what others want you to.
I know there's a compromise in everything and you have to put the food on the table. But in the long run, this is what will define you to the others.
We had to search for models first, in the first round I've selected my favorites from a wider selection that YR Agency had provided me, the next round was a personal callback, luckily Agency Dos Amigos from Prague had great selection of models so picking the right ones was easy.
I wasn't given a specific direction on how to approach the lighting, only a few hints so when the shoot day was coming I had several ideas in my mind how to light it.
Here I've provided a lighting diagram that I've used:
Setup is this: Canon 5DS with 100mm L lens, Large octa for main light (camera right), large strip box (camera left) for fill. Two smaller stripboxes rougly 45 degree angle behind the subject. Reflector directly behind the subject to lighten up the background and to create a subtle gradient. And lastly medium softbox on a boom for hair light - behind the subject, tilted down approx 45 degrees.
Not the easiest setup to pull off but the result is worth it.
Check a quick video:
Behind the scenes photos: