These photos are from an actor's headshot session last week with Maria Naess. We were working at quite a busy time but we still found plenty of great outdoor locations for the shoot. Maria's a Norwegian actress currently studying at Goldsmiths.
I'll just use the above example to talk about the lighting, because I used a few different set ups. Here I have a shoot through umbrella very close and just above eye level out of camera left at 1/2 power. I'm at 1/250 of a second at f/4, ISO 100. The fill is coming from a white wall out of sight on camera right. I could vary how much fill I got just by moving the whole setup different distances from that wall. I love doing this kind of trick with white walls, ceilings and columns I find on location. The latest shoot I did (I'll write about it soon) I used quite a lot of bounce flash off the white ceilings in covered walkways.
I do add a slight colour grade to some of my headshots, which gives them a very specific look. Even though it is mainly the black and white versions that are required for actor's headshots, I think colour headshots are becoming important too - especially as things move online, where sites like Spotlight allow you to upload additional shots. The colour can come across as a bit less pretentious than black and white if you're using them for a professional social media presence as well. Anyway, I use a few selective curves levels in photoshop to colour grade, and in this example I brought a little bit of blue and green into the shadows, and some yellow into the highlights. It's a tiny adjustment, but it just makes the colour version of the image look slightly more refined.