Portrait Shoot (Outtakes)

I couldn’t resist…

“The Portrait in photography is one of the most problematic areas of photographic practice” - Graham Clarke “The Photograph”.

The digital portraits found on my website are from a spontaneous shoot I decided to do, for fear if I didn’t start taking pictures of people soon - I was never going to. 

As photographers, we’re introverts by habit. The creativity that flows through our minds is enough to occupy it, and there are no distractions whilst working alone with inanimate objects/spaces.

Taking pictures of food and the urban landscapes around me, the solitude becomes so very therapeutic, and
finding a new composition is a simple case of moving either an object, or myself. 

With people, it’s different. You have to give forward directions, you have to transcribe the visual in your head to another human being, without over-complicating things. This has to be achieved, whilst keeping in mind the most important part: making sure your model is comfortable. 

I was apprehensive to ask people to model, but everyone I shot in this series replied “yes!” with no hesitation when I asked - a good start. I am aware I may not always be this lucky, and know that the “no” I will sometimes
receive is nothing personal.

Onto the shoot: I used a Canon 6d body with a Canon f 1.4 prime lens for this shoot, kit I borrowed out from the extensive store here at Falmouth University. This type of lens gets overlooked for portraits, yet I found it to be the perfect ally. It creates this beautiful depth of field were the person really is the sole focus, and being a prime lens, means YOU have to do the moving, due to having no zoom whatsoever. This means you use the space
actively and creates more dynamic photographs.

 I really enjoyed the conversations I had with each of the models, it’s a great way to get to know people more. As we walked my eyes were constantly scanning the area around us, picking up suitable/interesting backgrounds. Then I’d stop and go “could you stand against that door/wall/fence please?” at one point it was said I had to stop saying “sorry” after every time I asked my model to do something, and was told that giving specific direction was a breath of fresh air. 

I learnt that the people who modelled liked “being told what to do”, reciting off times were they had squirmed whilst deciding what to do next because they had been given no direction other than “just do what you
want/usually do”. This made me more confident, and as the day went on, I stopped apologising so much.

I came home with a massive smile on my face, what a great way to spend time with people, AND to get work done. I was glad to see such varied but nice results considering I just used natural lighting (no reflectors or
external lighting was used at all).

Overall although I am pleased with the results at hand, I appreciate I have a long way to go. These outtakes hold some examples to portraits that I felt like “something” was “missing” from, and some are just goofing around. Picking out the best of the bunch sometimes becomes an intuitive thing, they just look ‘right’ and speak to you. 

I am definitely interested in becoming more refined and skilled within this area, as although it is tricky, I
thoroughly enjoy it and it is certainly an important subject within the photography world. 

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