Capturing a Headshot for an Actor: How I Got the Shot

Posted by: on Jun 4, 2018 | One Comment

The below article is from Alaina Lutkitz a headshot photographer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Follow her online at and on Instagram at @alaina_lutkitz.

We thank Alaina for pulling back the curtain on her latest shoot and contributing to the How I Got the Shot Guide: Women’s Edition!


The concept of this headshot session was to get my client, Burke, a variety of shots to show the range of roles he can play as an actor.


I use the Peter Hurley Flex Kit by Westcott. To showcase different looks for Burke, I used multiple lighting setups. My favorite look is what we refer to as triangle lighting where 3 flex kit panels are used to wrap the subject with nice, even lighting. I also separated the triangle to shadow the subject up a bit and used one of the panels as a kicker for a few of the shots.


Shooting tethered allows me to see the light and make any adjustments I see necessary, but more importantly, it allows me to coach my client into the perfect shot. We analyze the different angles of the face and use tethering to select the shots that are genuine and real…no stiff, fake, cheesy smiles here.


My biggest challenge would be getting my clients to understand and apply the crazy antics I coach them through, but that challenge is eliminated with the ability to tether. Once my client can see the difference from pre-coaching to post coaching, they trust me completely. The trust is quickly established, and we can create magic together.


Very little post processing is involved. Minor color and exposure adjustments in Capture One.


I shoot most of my headshots in my studio and use the following gear to make it happen:


To download this guide and including 29 more articles, download the How I Got the Shot: Women’s Edition on Each educational article features a different image, behind-the-scenes video, and a detailed breakdown of how the shot was made.

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One thought on “Capturing a Headshot for an Actor: How I Got the Shot”

  1. Hi!

    Thank you for sharing this. I’m a photographer/videographer. I like the music but it was way too loud–in fact I had a really hard time understanding what you were saying, to the point where I gave up after three tries and turned on closed captioning.
    Those light panels seem slick, and I can see using them for video. Do you ever find they’re a little bright and cause your subjects to squint a little bit? I’m used to using strobes with modeling lights for portraits and don’t have that problem. Anyway thanks again!

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