Headshot Photographer Bay Area
Headshot of bay area mural artist Maxfield Bala

Headshot Photographer Bay Area

Today’s post features my headshot session with San Francisco mural artist Maxfield Bala. Max is an amazing mural artist who has created murals for some well known companies including: Dropbox, Mountain Dew, The Hard Rock Hotel, Coca Cola, Samsung, DHL, Lagunitas Brewing Company and much more.

Max was starting to notice that he needed some updated headshots to better represent himself on social media, his website and bio cards for his live painting events. Above all else he really wanted some high quality headshots and portraits that matched the quality of his work and the brands he works with.

I suggested we create headshots for him on both white and black backgrounds. This way he would have headshot options that would compliment both light or dark settings. Choosing a headshot that compliments the design of where the portrait will be displayed is a really nice touch that I think is often overlooked when creating personal branding portraits.

For instance, my website has a black background which tends to make dark, moody portraits really pop. I chose this background for my website very intentionally because I love creating moody, cinematic portraits with lots of shadow. I like it when the dark shadows of my images bleed into the background so they portrait and the setting seem to melt together.


That said most websites have light or white backgrounds which can really compliment headshots captured on white backdrops. For white background websites I think it looks really clean when the white background of the website bleeds seamlessly into the background of the headshot. This creates a really clean look that I think really compliments the overall design and thus makes the headshot stand out more.

Headshots are more than just the background they’re photographed on though. Arguably one of the most important aspects of a good headshot is the expression captured. A headshot for your business contacts should be inviting and welcoming, while a headshot for your website bio can arguably be more portrait like and individualistic. Max wanted portraits for both scenarios.

Max’s mural work is very colorful and after I felt that we had captured great portraits for the corporate world, I asked him what he thought of the idea of making things interesting with some colored gels for his final portrait. He loved the idea, so I grabbed some CTO (color temperature orange) and teal gels for a moody three light cinematic light set up.

I gelled the key and kicker lights orange and the shadow fill light teal. In post production I then cooled down the color temp to make his skin tone more believable, but not completely neutral so as to keep the colors complimentary.


Max and I are really happy with the way everything turned out and I think he has a really great portfolio of images to more effectively brand himself with. If you like the way his headshots turned out and would like to update your own, feel free to get in touch and I’d be happy to talk with you about what you need so you can more effectively market yourself to your clients.

Jason Guy

Jason Guy is a portrait and boudoir photographer based out of Sonoma, California.

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