Yesterday, my friend and colleague Rolf asked me to take a portrait of him that he could use in his drivers license. I've done it tons of times before, so of course I said yes. Now I'd like to share with you how I made the shot of Rolf, or more accuratley, how I always do it. (Note: this is the way I do it and not necessarily the right way to do it.)
Because of certain regulations, shooting a driver's license photo is a bit different from your standard portrait shoot. For example: the face has to be evenly lit. No shadows, no light ratios.
First, some of the requirements (in Sweden, as of 2015-09-30):
- The photo should be a proper presentation of what the person actually looks like.
- Straight on, showing the entire head.
- Eyes to the camera, pupils showing, pin sharp.
- No hats, no sunglasses.
- Even lighting on the face.
- White, blown out background. No shadows allowed.
- Print size 35x45 mm, 14-17 mm between the bottom of the chin to the pupils.
The gear I use:
- Canon EOS 5D Mark II
- EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM
- Three Yongnuo YN560-III:s on Manfrotto 1004BAC stands.
- Four Pocketwizard Plus III:s to trigger the flashes.
- Two Elinchrome 33" white bounce umbrellas
- Sekonic L-758DR for metering.
- Lastolite white backdrop
With rules and regulations in mind, this is the lighting setup that I use. Again, had this been a standard portrait shoot, things would have looked a bit different.
Some settings to go with the setup:
- Camera set to 1/200s, f/13 at ISO100. RAW.
- Lens zoomed in to about 135mm.
- Flashes lighting the face set at nose level, metered at f/13.
- Flash lighting the background metered at f/18 (a full stop brighter than the face).
Gear and settings combined, the rest is simple. I simply click the shutter. Add a simble black and white conversion and there you go. I'm quite pleased with my latest result, shown below.