Friday, February 25, 2011

Lifestyle and Self-Promotional Headshots

There are many challenges with portraiture and so many different types of portraiture within photography that I could easily spend a whole career on just portraiture and be completely fulfilled. Taking Headshots is one specific area of portraiture that you can spend a lot of time developing a career becoming successful at. It can be extremely simple yet full of emotion. There is a common structure as far as formal portraiture goes, but they can also be extremely fun and interactive. The dynamics of each person and the emotions they are capable of expressing just through their faces makes portraiture and specifically headshots so interesting. I have a young portfolio in my more recent studied headshot work, but I really enjoy the room to grow and progress towards a well rounded portfolio and understanding of the extent of what headshots can be. In general, I have a broad interest in portraiture and photography so I want to be a little more liberal when it comes to headshots. I am willing to create less formal headshots, including some lifestyles into the composition or using a subtle promotion as the background of a portrait is something I like to create. Of course for the client, it is the most important to create an image that is common to what they would like to communicate in their own headshots. Most of the time, clients may not have a set expectation of how their headshots should look other than what they have seen before in the typical corporate/school directory photos and what they want to use their headshots for. I have no problem meeting those expectations, but I love a playful client willing to incorporate a little more personality into their headshots. Given the opportunity, I will play with the boundaries. Right now I love experimenting with my own work and learning from other's work so that I continue to grow into both the more conservative art of headshots and the creative sides of experimenting with portraiture. This is another aspect of my love for photography, the room to grow, learn, experiment, and get better.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Quality Time Portraiture

While I do tend to take pictures of my own family when I spend time with them. I prefer these days more time with my own family without my camera because being behind a camera separates me from interacting completely. This separation is not a bad thing, and it is not a complete separation it is more of a different type of interaction when from behind a camera. It is not a complete participation. Naturally, it has become something that creates a more genuine interaction with families I have taken pictures for. I have begun to offer spending time portraits in which I don't get very much into formal portraiture. I may take several group photos, but the majority of this type of offering is to spend time and separate myself so that I am capturing authentic moments between family members. This spending time photography tends to be much more candid and personal. Since I really enjoy candids, I actually prefer this over a more formal pose and shoot interaction. It has been a very fulfilling type of work. I am continuing to grow into my portraiture work and this has definitely been a smoother transition for the type of work I am used to. Formal portraiture has been much more demanding of my research and learning part of photography. I am much more comfortable and competent with spending time portraiture because this has been the majority of my experience with people photos.
These two families highlighted in this blog are long-time friends, who have beautiful families. I am grateful to have them as friends and be able to capture moments that will be cherished and remembered by them for the rest of their lives. I frequently get the comment that I always have such beautiful subjects in my photos, and I agree and am lucky to have these opportunities, but I also think that everyone is beautiful as individuals different from each other. I seek to capture that individuality and beauty in each of my subjects the same way I strive to capture love in my photos. Love is beautiful. I hope that my photos express that beauty and love in a way that is not only for those who are in the photos but for inspiration to all those who want to be seen and portrayed in that same light.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fostering connections through portraiture

I love one-on-one personal portraits because there is something so simple and intimate that occurs between the subject and the photographer in these sessions. I like to take my time and give few posing instructions and let the subject and our interaction really create the mood of their photos, and I try to really encourage the confidence of the people I am shooting. No matter what age, the interaction between me and the subject is key and the subtle reactions of the subjects to my words, facial expressions, and encouragement makes a dramatic difference in the overall result of the shoot. In some cases our interaction is minimal when I use a 400mm telephoto lens to capture portraits it really creates distance that allows for an interesting dynamic. When necessary it requires an assistant in between that can be a posing coach and encourager. There is just something magical about the crushing affect and the zero distortion created from a telephoto lens that is both flattering and isolating.

Both Lianne and Candice have been amazing subjects for me growing into my portraiture work and this is the second time I have been able to take their portraits together. The last time was more of a tribute to their friendship, and this time was much more focused on them as individuals. I will post a prequel of their friendship session to my Flickr after this blog series on portraiture. I love these ladies, and I am forever grateful to them for being such great models for me to work with. I love how their different skin tones, colors, and personalities create a unique look for each even when shot at the same place and virtually the same time. These pictures were taken in Walhala, South Carolina, right before summer time with Spring in full affect. They were taken in the middle of the day either in shade, cloud-diffused sunlight, or posed to create an even shadow over their face. Any direct sunlight with the exception of one shot was kept away from their faces and no reflectors or strobes were used. These photos represent a complete portrait session with two locations and changing wardrobes.

I used both a Canon 85mm F/1.2 and a Canon 400mm F/2.8 for all of these shots, can you tell which ones were taken with which lens? Both lenses are a complete dream to work with. The 400mm is not completely necessary for portraiture but I continue to be impressed by the photos that this lens is capable of capturing. For the post-processing, I was experimenting with a new product for me, Apple's Aperture 3, and finalizing most of the work in Adobe Photoshop, a program that I have been using over the past 7 years, and it seems that they keep obsoleting all of my skillsets that I develop over time. With each new generation, Adobe has been saving me more and more time by creating easier and more powerful ways to do things; I have no complaints about this progress. I love it. I really hope you enjoy looking at my work and would consider allowing me to work with you to capture your personal portraits!