People in my Pictures

picture of middle school girl

I love people in my pictures.  I have always been a  huge fan of the great portrait photographers, Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman, Annie Leibowitz just to name a few favorites.  But introducing people into my daily photo project is something different.  Theses photos are about form and composition, along with Light, Color and Texture.  I consider these carefully but tend to work relatively quickly.  Therefore, the people become forms more than personalities.  When I’m lucky, personality comes through even in these very quick compositions.  But unlike doing a portrait sitting, I get no chance to relate to the subjects in any meaningful way.picture of little girl with biker dad

Connecting fully with your subject is really the only way to achieve a deep and telling portrait.  Of course methods vary.  As an assistant, I worked with some very good portrait photographers that could extract truth from subject in very limited time.  This is usually all you get with celebs, business execs and politicians.  I love shooting portraits for commercial work and find that most people have a certain amount of time in front of the camera before they start to “zone out”.  So being prepared is really key but I try to have some conversations pre-shoot, off the set below the strobes start flashing.picture of man taking a picture of photographer

It’s also critical to give your subject a break, I like to shoot maybe 20 exposures before stopping to chat.  Again this is a call you have to make with each individual.  Some need warm-up time before they relax, others burn out quickly, thus the importance of getting a feel for the person you’re shooting.  All of  this compounds the issues for my project, so I really cherish the “people” pictures that work well.  I’m also very conscious of not stalking or being rude or threatening to people on the street as I’m out there everyday by design…triptych with 3 people pictures


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