The most valuable resource of a portrait photographer? Hint: It's not the camera or the lights...

It's time. Time and patience. The images that I've taken which I like the most are the ones that came in second or third sessions with the same subject. The best portraits come after we try all the goofy stuff, all the serious stuff and all the trendy stuff. Once we get that out of the system we can work on just building a collaboration and playing around with the images. That's the way it works best for me.

This image is not traditionally lit. The light is coming from a point that's on the same plane as Lou's face, not from above or below. The main light is a smaller reflector softened by a beauty dish on the same axis. A big light right next to a small light. Don't know why-----it just seemed like fun.

Slowing down and enjoying the conversations and time together may be more important than Zeiss glass or ultra-megapixel sensors. I know it's more important than which light you choose.

Hasselblad Camera. 180mm lens. Kodak Verichrome Black and White Film (type 6041). Epson Scan.


  1. What is it about this portrait that make people want to leave any sort of comment? Just curious.

    1. I meant to ask, "What is it about this portrait that makes people NOT want to leave any sort of comment?" Sorry for the out of control typing.

    2. I saw this portrait just now and I like it. A lot.

      Before I read your posting, I started reverse-engineering the lighting from the catch light. Then, I saw her expression. I stopped and just looked at her for a while.

  2. She looks very sensible and vulnerable and I would like to protect her against all these bad things, that can and will happen in her live.

    Kirk, I noticed on your portrait site, that only 4 of them where not looking into the camera and into my eyes. That seem to include the viewer very much into the moment. If the person is looking away from the camera, I feel more like "watching" than being part of it. Just a few thoughts, when I start thinking about your question.

    When post processing a portrait like this, I often feel, that this is a very intimate act. With these high resolution images I get closer to/into the face than the person her/himself normally does.

  3. There's almost nothing to say about this portrait, Kirk. It's great to simply enjoy it.

    To me it has a fireside feel to it, like the subject is sitting beside me on a couch close to the hearth. Warm and friendly.

  4. The most valuable resource for portrait photographers is a Canon lens with an F/1.2 aperture.

    In all seriousness, you do great work. reminds me a bit of Francesco Scavullo.

  5. The Eyes say it all. Eyes is what I like about portraits. However, when I want to meet people for coffee and talk first, and then shoot, the exuse is always "no time"

  6. It is easier to buy a great lens than learning to be patient and dedicate time to your subject...Great Photo, I like it!


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