Portraits. Sometimes it is the quiet moments that seem to bring forward images we didn't think about when we started our sessions.

Fadya and I were in the studio making portraits. There was a lull in the conversation. Things were quiet. She looked away and I shot a frame of that pose. It's not one of the compositions I generally try to work within but it seemed to me to reveal a different perspective about my subject.

On a technical note, the image above reaffirms my preference to work with continuous light sources when making portraits. I know that flash is all the rage but..... When I work with continuous light sources there is always a softness within the detail that feels seems more natural. Skin is smoother without resorting to typical post production. The need for the sitter and photographer to be more synchronized when it comes to motion and stillness creates even more of a collaborative spirit.

This image was lit with a K5600 HMI light bouncing into a large umbrella. A second HMI light head was aimed at the background. It's simple lighting. But light is always simple in the real world.

Have you tried my favorite portrait exercise? It goes like this: Find a model who is also an interesting person and who is patient. Set up your lighting and camera before the subject gets to the studio. Make tea or coffee for your subject when they arrive. Have the subject settle into their space on their designated chair, posing stool or whatever. Sit on a chair or stool next to your camera. Ask them about their day. Ask them about their kids. As them about their passion in life. Ask them where they grew up and what their favorite kind of food is. Ask them what ideas they have when the think about portraits. Ask them what they want to be doing next week, next month and next year. Let them talk. Sip coffee or tea. Find the things you have in common. Listen to the things that they are focused on.

Then, tell them about the portrait process you are trying to do. Tell them what they can do to help you make the process work. Tell them what your goal in this project is.

Once you've discussed these things, and you've both had a warm beverage, and you are both comfortable. Start the process of making the portrait. Only at this point should you begin to handle the camera.

Finally, don't hide behind the camera. It severs the connection you have both tried hard to build.

1 comment:

Will said...

Beautiful light, and process of making portraits. Establishing the true connection is key to making strong portraits. I am working on that and this was a great eye opener to another way of doing it. I will be trying that. Thanks Kirk.