I haven't been shooting a lot lately. Sometimes life gets in the way of art and business.
This is just a quick snap I did on a trip this week. It's not wonderful photography, but, it's a place and time that speaks volumes about life and friendship.
It represents where he and I are, right now, this week, at this point in our lives.
Photography is a great communicator and while I could do a whole photo essay project on this issue ....right now life is in the way. If I'd had more time there, the following narrative is what I'd try to say in photos......
This is my friend Bob who I stopped to see on Wednesday when I was in NC. He has Cystic Fibrosis.
He is giving me a sassy face (by my request) because, for the last 32 years, that is what Bob does when we chat. He gets sassy with me. 😂😂
Bob cannot get on a transplant list if he cannot show enough funds to cover the after care.
He will die without the transplant.
A $20 donation to his gofundme will give him a shot at life and will not cause you to live in poverty for eternity.
Please donate what you can, share his gofundme link with everyone you know, and pray to whomever you pray to.
Creative portrait photography gives you an opportunity to express something. It gives you a moment to freeze time and show, in depth, the beauty of who you are.
Who are you? Where are you in life? What, or who, do you love? What do you hate? Where do you want to go?
Answering any of that in a creative photo is like a 1,000 word essay done in a fraction of a second.
It’s a fabulous form of communication, even if you never show anyone and you only communicate it to yourself.
Maybe you are unhappy about your weight and you’d like to do something that motivates you to change. Maybe you just had a baby and you’d like to capture something that expresses your life right at this moment. Maybe you are recently divorced or in a new relationship and you want to capture exactly what that is like right at this moment in time. Maybe you are like me and you just like to explore images of who you are over time.
It can all be done and it is sooooo worth doing.
Be real, be raw, be gritty, be brave, be beautiful, and show me who you are.
Outdoor portraits are bit of a crap shoot if you don't have a plan. Even with a plan, you often don't know exactly what you will get with the environmental variables. With a little patience though, this type of photography is often spectacular!
Here are my thoughts of making great outdoor portraits:
Sunrise and early mornings: Usually this is great light with interesting skies. The dew in warmer months is a nice touch and the frost/snow in cooler months shimmers nicely. The downside is that you have to get up wicked early and the time is short.
Midday: Two scenarios which include: 1. Harsh sun that requires some artificial or natural shade, or 2. Overcast diffused light.
More people are more active at this time too so car and pedestrian traffic can make it a little tricky. We can use harsh light to make a mood for the portraits, but, that is often not the intent of the subject so diffusers and fill lights can be used to provide more even areas. An overcast sky diffuses the light for us, but, often makes the sky areas boring. I consider that when composing an image.
Sunset is generally going to be the best time to make an interesting and dramatic image, especially when the sky is going to be included. Don’t count out nighttime for great portraits either though. Really amazing things can happen after dark (especially in the winter) and it sets us up to makes very unique photos! This is one reason that I like to schedule these shoots later in the day. That way you get the benefit of strong light, sunset light, and a dark sky. Everything is there, and, we don’t have to get up at 5am!
At any time of day, a landmark that is itself interesting, or, holds significance to the subject(s) gives the portrait a positive boost. Sometimes these places require some permission and sometimes not. Reflectors and lights are generally must haves, at least for backup, so it’s tough to be stealthy in public places and permission (when needed) is essential for a successful shoot.
Have you had a headshot done before? Show it to me so we can improve on it. If not, show me some headshot samples that you like.
Then we look at you. Are you a business type? A creative type? Is there a theme to what you need?
Headshots for professionals:
Generally speaking, most professionals will do well to wear clothes that they feel great in and would generally wear in their professional environment. Try for solid neutral colors with no logos or busy patterns. Hair, make-up and jewelry should be clean and simple, but, also reflect your day to day style.
Since this is a head shot, we will be photographing you from just below the shoulders and up. Keep that in mind when deciding on an outfit. Necklines, collars, ties: will be much more important than belts unless you have a longer style preference, or, we need to match an existing style that is waist up. The ultimate goal is for people to recognize you when they seek out your services.
My general inclination will be to go with a clean bright white background with even flattering light. This lends itself well to social media profile images, print advertising, websites, etc., etc. It’s classic and easy to reproduce if you add staff or need to change your images in a few years.
Headshots for creatives, athletes and any non-corporate needs:
Grab your instrument, tiara, paint brushes, football, or latest book and come on down! Headshots for creative types need to add a little zing. What that is depends on the usage and what you are trying to portray with your creative endeavors.
If you are into: pageants, acting, make-up and hair styling, you will likely want to punch up the image with hair, clothing, make-up and lighting. Musicians, performers, and artists can take a peek at Rolling Stone cover images to get some great ideas for both traditional and non-traditional headshots of creative people.
Modeling is a little different. The wise people over at Model Mayhem have a great article (or two, or three) on the subject so I defer to them on this one: http://www.modelmayhem.com/education/modeling/1882-building-your-portfolio
All the same ideas for professionals apply to creative people, but, you may want to add an edge.
So, send me your old headshots, let me know what you will be using the new ones for, and we’ll put together some ideas!!
Teens and Tween – Outgoing Kids: I let them be happy. I let them make silly faces. Getting to the truer portraits of them requires a bit of getting their versions captured and then moving on. They will come up with great stuff there is no doubt about that. But, they don’t see themselves as other people see them. The unguarded, unposed, character they have. That’s were a lot of the really good stuff is. That’s the portrait I go after.
Teens and Tweens – Shy Kids: The fastest method of turning a shy kid who is getting a portrait done into an outgoing kid who is getting a portrait done, is to show them how nice they look. All a photographer has to do to relieve their anxiety is to keep them aware of what you’re capturing. I like to find their strongest feature and go with it, at least initially. If they are shy about some acne, no problem, we can deal with that. If they have a poor body image, no problem, we can deal with that too. They will look maaaarvelous, they just need to see it as the process goes on.
Special Needs Children - I should have mentioned this in my other blog post too: if you have a special needs child do not hesitate to contact me for portraits. I am quite familiar with developmental issues and I will likely know a good deal about them without anyone having to explain it to me.
Top 5 Portrait Session Tips!
Black and white portraits are also not just one thing though. It is not simply the lack of color that drawn the viewer in. In my old film days, I spent hours and hours printing my own black and white photos. Having that experience makes me keenly aware of the possible variations in black and white. The types of films, the film grain, the chemistry used, the papers used for printing, the quality of the enlarger, and toning methods all came together to make an image without ‘color’ an image with emotion.
It takes a little time, and a lot of photos, to get them at their best. They turn their head, they close their eyes, and they (occasionally) pick their nose. That’s OK! You can't rush them. They will come around.
Plus, it’s worth the time because they grow so fast that in 6 months that they won’t have the same look to them that they have right now. They won’t be curious about the same things. It’s worth it to take the time, settle them in and find what makes that child click with the camera.
Newborns to 12 Months Old: This is the most likely group to pee, puke, or poop. Don’t fret! One or all of those WILL happen. We can all plan accordingly and just roll with it.
Children 1 to 4: They tend to be the squirmers. The happy boy in the photo for this blog is being held up Lion King Style by his mom. He is an active and healthy little guy so we just worked with that and it worked beautifully!
Kid 5 to 9: This group usually has some school portrait experience under their belt and they are more relaxed and less impressed with the process. They are a good group to sit and chat with because they light up when they tell me what they are interested in.
Tweens and teens are an amazingly fun group to photograph so I’m going to save those ages for another blog post.
Photographing the world around us.