Pondering Portraits

I’ve always had a strong interest in portraits as I find the entire process extremely interesting. The technicalities involved with getting the lighting right I find both challenging and engrossing, especially when I’m doing a portrait where I’m after a look or I’m trying to convey some sort of message. It doesn’t always work out the way I want it to, but I enjoy the effort. I was talking to someone about whether or not it’s possible to get an interesting portrait even if I don’t like the sitter. The answer is yes, because in these situations I concentrate on what I’m trying to do and not on who is in front of me. It is, however, far more interesting when there is a connection between myself and the sitter and the photo isn’t all about the sitters vanity.

I usually require a long time to shoot a good portrait image as I need to think into what I’m trying to do/create, which reduces the commercial potential because we live in a busy world and peoples usual expectation is to sit, be blinded by a flash a couple times and it’s over. That’s how it works on TV, but making good pictures however is like cooking a good meal, both need care, attention to detail and time for the flavors/thoughts to mature.

There are two flashes being used to light this picture. The woman is lit by a studio flash with a medium-sized umbrella on camera left side, while the man is lit by a flash on camera right with an medium honeycomb-grid attached. This combination allows a small amount of light to spill onto the background from the flash with the umbrella and eliminates flash shadows from the harder light source on camera right, which creates smooth shadows and keeps the ambience of the room.

Noise was added in post processing to give the picture a color tone suggestive of a 1970’s Kodak Ektachrome film stock.

24-70mm, f7, 1/125sec, ISO200

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