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Difficult Subjects - People and Portraits


I hope you enjoy browsing the images in my Portfolio - all comments are welcome!
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Difficult Subjects - People and Portraits

9 May 2020 9:13AM   Views : 428 Unique : 301

When we start off in photography, pictures of people can be one of the most daunting subjects, certainly to do in a way that is more than just snapping away at friends and family. Actually directing a person, communicating properly, getting them onboard with the theme, these are all learned things. Some of us might well be naturals, but I've had to work at it. Sue once told me she had a real problem talking to a model in the studio and couldn't think of what to say. So she said, "What did you have for tea?" which actually wasn't a bad idea as it broke the ice. The next time, the same model started her off by saying what she'd had for tea. So communication was set up and I'm sure she finds it much easier now.

My biggest problem was being uncomfortable with posing, until I found that often what I really wanted to do was direct. So I make up a mini-scenario and describe it to the model. Imagine you are......and I weave a tale around the emotion of the shoot. Does it work? Sometimes yes, sometimes less so, but setting up images with a story is much more fun than straight portraiture. Having said that, making a straight portrait in a style is something else again and I suppose that even that could be seen as weaving a tale.

Let's have a look at some images of people and see whether they bear out what I thought I was doing at the time. I've not chosen these in advance, so you and I are looking at the choice for the first time together.

A set up shot with my cousins, from late 1969. Konica Auto S2 with fixed 45mm Hexanon lens

Morning Snack Time, Pennington Flash candid

The Green Light, lit by iPad

Rob, portrait for lens review

Mike, character portrait

Alan, opportunistic shot as he passed a sunlit spot in a model shoot in a mill

Kier, who posed exactly as directed every time

Connections, an image with a message?

Sue on a vintage train, by iPhone

Searching for Ed Sheeran

Happy Birthday Frankie Valli, with his sons

Phil, on day he closed up shop and retired

It's when looking at pictures like this we can suddenly realise there are rather more than we thought. So I'd better stop there for today, but all these had some degree of planning about them and some degreee of direction. The candids were also planned in the sense that I was primed and ready and the camera was in hand ready to shoot, just waiting for that decisive moment.....

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