Portraits: Stepping out of my comfort zone again

March 08, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Vera den Otter, 2014

What exactly is a portrait? 

Sounds easy enough until you put the camera up to your eye. Do you pose them, do you go au-natural, do you look for the serious look or dig for emotion?

A comment from my critique was, "Try to really find out who that person is"... "get deeper than the surface."  This was a tough assignment for me because it's not the style of photography I'm used to. I've spent years trying to be a bit candid and subtle. Yet this style puts you right out there and your subject looks for you to make it happen. Very different than say 'street photography' where you really need to chill out and wait for the moments to come to you. 

So in summary, after these three shoots, I felt just ok about them. Vera is beautiful and was easy to work with but I don't think I did a good job going deeper than the surface. During Matt's shoot I found some really cool light and should have worked with that a lot more. If I could do his over again, I would have asked him to pose about 5 times throughout the process for straight on shots. And finally Kwadwo's shoot. My critique said this was more about a person at work rather than a portrait shoot. Agreed. And this takes me back to the beginning, what is a portrait? I'm feeling a lot better about this question now and would like to keep trying this out. 


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