For most portraits the eyes are the most important part. For whatever reason the eyes seem to be the most communicative area of the face.
There are exceptions to every rule of course, and sometimes not showing the eyes at all can be a powerful statement on its own. But, generally if you show the eyes you want to make sure they are saying the right thing. The right thing depends of course on the purpose of the photo. A family photo is different than a head shot which is different than a portrait…you get the idea. Basicly, you have to know your message and have to communicate it on a basic level through the eyes.
This is a head shot I did for a friend, and as headshots go I quite like. It is certainly non-traditional, but for me it has all the necessary elements of a good head shot. It captures the way the person looks and gives a little indication about what on the inside.
For some people just smiling will capture a deeper part of their personality. I think this is what we like to call being Photogenic. Some people are very photogenic and some are very not photogenic, most people fall generally in the middle(as they statistically must). There are in fact some very beautiful people who do not have an easy time getting their “personality” to come across on “film.” There are also plenty of people who, in person are odd looking or downright ugly, but in front of a camera they look like a million bucks and you feel as if you are looking directly into their soul.
I love the ethereal style of this shot. That is accomplished using a very shallow depth of field, over exposing the back light, and looking down on the subject. Also, I used a neutral gray background (actually blue, but in BW it does not matter) so that the brightness of a white background would not distract from the details that are sharply in focus. For me, in this situation it was absolutely imperative that the eyes be razor sharp in order to make them pop out from the rest of the soft focus. For this particular image, if the eyes(the focal point) are not sharp the head shot falls apart completely and does not convey anything. Because a large portion of the frame is out of focus this would not do the job of a head shot unless the power of the eyes draws the rest of the frame into “focus.”
Thanks for reading!!!