A friend allowed me to photograph him. I wanted a couple of portfolio shots...he needed a head shot for some social networking sites.
What I learned
1. Makeup isn't a bad thing...direct or reflected light from the flash made his skin a little shiny. We solved it by using the umbrella as a shoot-through.
2. Match backgrounds against clothes. I have a black background set up. He was wearing a black jacket. The shots wound up being a head floating in a sea of black. We solved this by finding a white wall.
3. Go for more differences between the ratios of the lighting I was lighting his face pretty evenly and then, by accident got a pretty good shot. I hate that it was by accident. And I only made one image with that lighting. Luckily it was a good expression on his face.
4. Use more interesting backgrounds. I can see now why they sell marbleized backgrounds. White is pretty boring.
5. The more lighting "specs" for lack of a better word, the better. Little sparkles might be another term.