Portrait of a Bald Man

Discussion in 'Portraits and Fashion' started by dragon_fly|1, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. A newbie question.
    Just starting out shooting portraits. Right now, I do executive portraits quite often. I am having quite a bit of a problem lighting bald men or men with very short and thin hair.
    Typically, I use the Rembrandt or loop lighting with a kicker. The problem is with the kicker. It just makes the bald/thin hair head too bright, too dramatic, which is not suitable for executive portraits. Taking off the kicker or aiming it low gives me little or no separation from the background. Powdering the bald head is not comfortable (as it is weird from their POV) for my male clients, besides I don't find it working that well anyway.
    Is there a trick?
  2. Are you using a hair/kicker light that provides control over power? There's a lot of middle ground between on(and too hot) and off. If the way you're using it is too much, but none at all means not enough separation ... split the difference.
  3. If you are using only the kicker for separation, you might look instead to a background light as the kicker is sometimes overpowering even if well powered down.
    One of the solutions for balding men is a cutter or head screen in between the key light and the forehead. It is not to totally block the light, but rather to reduce the ration of brightness between what falls on the face and what might have fallen on the top of the head. A cutter can be completely opaque, or it can be made of something like black mesh in several layers so that you are only partially reducing the light on that area. another excellent method is barn doors on your beauty light or soft box so that you partially block the brightness from any area you desire to control. Absolutely do not use a hair light.
    Control is the key work about all lightning and you might try a search in utube for hair light control methods or other similar titles to watch this in action.
    There are also many good books on portrait lighting that show control methods to keep light away from the top of the head and instead concentrate it into the face.
  4. Another possible method would be to use a tight headshot style where the top of the head is cut off. They seem to like that they are suddenly no longer just another bald guy.
  5. I'm with Tim, a background light won't produce the specular highlight a "hair" light might on a bald head. When doing these types of shoots, it can be turned off for subjects with light colored hair. As I often say, it's a couple of punches of the toggles on a cyber commander from my stool. Can take one with then another without quickly just in case for light colored or thinning hair, then turn it back on for next person. I believe Michael Mowery had an example of using a black net to reduce the light reaching the top of the head from a front light in a recent post. Sorry, I can't find it right now.
  6. Thank you all for the replies. I'll try all the suggestions.
  7. Try dulling spray. https://www.calphoto.co.uk/product/K-Line-Dulling-Spray-Matte/193-290C?gclid=CjwKEAjwq-OsBRDd95aryprR9wQSJACQnU3GO-RWvbkCU-RYU5Y-Hvxyy3Oxn2xnuy_Z3oOKnUyGP
  8. Hit them with lots of rimlights. Preferably barebulb. Rimlights work great on baldies, give them powerful look, great for executive type.
  9. I'm with Bob H. Cropping the head keeps the focus on the eyes. This works well for totally bald men. However, guys with thin hair up top might not like it, as it will make them look completely bald.

Share This Page