Is Portrait Photography for you?

Is Portrait Photography for you?

Personally I choose to shoot weddings and find the experience very rewarding. To play such significant role on a day that will be remembered by enlarge through my images for generations to come, is what makes me a passionate photographer.

That being said the task comes with great responsibility and for many photographers a stressful environment that is tightly scheduled by meticulously planning with no opportunity to reshoot the event.

 

With Weddings …….

Only experience and becoming innate with your camera and all it’s features will alleviate the fears of a nervous wedding photographer.

 

My advice to those looking to follow the path of a wedding photographer, is to consider mastering the craft of portraiture first. Many of the skills practiced here are common to both genres, without the added pressure to perform flawlessly for hours.

 

So is Portraiture something you would consider as photographer?

 

Portraiture is the type of photography that best defines human interest. This challenging area of photography appeals to a select group of photographers because of the extensive and unique skill set required to master this craft.

I truly believe the best portrait photographer is one that possesses a genuine interest in people or the industry that would eventually become their subjects and clients.

 

It’s not difficult to understand why many portrait photographers are natural conversationalists.

A thinking portrait photographer can learn so much about their client in a five-minute purposeful conversation.

By asking simple ice breaker questions, like:

  • “What is the purpose of the portrait”
  • “Where will it be displayed?”
  • “What is your position in the company?

 

During all portrait shoots your initial first conversation with your clients it is best for you not to only listen but observe your subjects, looking for clues to their true character. Simple palm up or palm down hand gestures by clients are indicators of dominance as well as their facial expressions. It is important to conduct this verbal exchange before the camera intimidates or impedes on their true personality.

 

We all have a good and bad side to be photographed on,  and a well-trained portrait photographer will see and accommodate their subject’s strong and weak features in this regard without the subject’s knowledge.

 

To do this a portrait photographer will use a number of skills not limited to the camera and it’s operation.

One of these skills includes the ability to use light to create varying moods.

 

Portrait photographers have to be proficient not only in controlled studio environments but also on location with natural sunlight as many assignments will be at private homes and places of business.

This means a travel kit that might include translucent diffusers and reflectors accompanied by wireless Speedlite flashes or new generation LED lighting.

 

A portrait photographer understands that the placement of a person’s shoulders in relationship to the camera will give a slimming or broadening effect, as too elevating the camera’s angle for an elderly person will have them lifting their chin and this makes skin on the face and neck appear taunt.

These are but a few of the tricks known by those who have mastered their craft.

Perhaps the measure of a true craftsman in this genre’ is to see him apply all these skills while the subject remains oblivious to techniques being used. A portrait photographer empowers his subjects regardless of their body shape and personality.

 

Essentially portraiture photography is to capture the essence of one’s character and to tell as much about the subject in a single frame. Not an easy task by any means but certainly one, which is very rewarding for the photographer and often profitable. Many portrait photographers develop long-lasting customers relationships with their clients who appreciate the attention to detail found in good portraiture. The trust portrait photographers develop could be due to the nature of their work being displayed publicly in homes or business profiles.

 

Although there are many different portraiture styles the general purpose of most portraits is to represent the subjects, and or the values their corporation holds. where the image is being displayed.

 

If you think you have the personality to communicate and ability to operate your camera to overcome lighting obstacles in the field, then here a few styles of portraiture you might like to try:-

 

  • Family portraiture
  • Business Profile portraiture
  • Editorial portraiture
  • Social Media portraiture
  • Fine art portraiture
  • Intimate Boudoir
  • Children’s portraiture
  • Pregnancy portraiture

 

Be sure and check the All About Photography calendar for workshop dates for “Portraiture classes” in 2016.

Happy shooting and keep learning!

 

 

Cheers,

Rich Johnston
Photographer

 

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