Some would say that the key to being a good or successful photographer is the ability to shoot good portraits and headshots. There is a fine art as well as a bit of science to getting your subject to relax and give you the pose you want.
Working out the details of the lighting and posing while trying to put the model at ease and assure them that you will make them look their best is not always the simplest of tasks.
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There are times when you will need to deal with models that are tense in front of the camera, or models that will tend to blink every time a studio strobe fires.
Just like anything, the more time you practice your craft the better you will get at something. I’m still practicing and perfecting my skills working with models, how to light them, how to pose them and how to direct them into the images I want.
Some models will come to the poses and the expressions naturally while others will remain uncomfortable in front of the camera. With time and experience I hope to become more skilled at working with models for portraits, but for now I am enjoying the learning experience of shooting outside my comfort zone.
I really like it when I can get several “personalities” from a single subject, making the same person look harmless and ominous in two different frames is challenging and fun all at the same time.
Working with both men and women can require different skills for each.
Everyone says the eyes are the gateway to a person’s soul, or the eyes tell the story so in most cases the eyes are the point of focus.
Another aspect of portrait photography is the retouching that is done after the images are captured, that is also something I am improving on with practice.
Every face is unique to that individual and tells a story of their life and how they have lived.
I really enjoy these model shoots, it gives me a chance to expand my skills as a photographer and learn new concepts of lighting and posing.
The commercial applications for this type of photography is endless, clothing catalogs advertising, general family portraits the skills gained while practicing will add to a general understanding of lighting and working with models.
I would say this is a classic headshot pose for men.
Getting the razor-thin depth-of-field shots can be difficult, too shallow and both eyes are not in focus, not shallow enough and the chest and neck are in focus which doesn’t have the same “dreamy” look.
Using natural light can be even more challenging than studio lighting because it can take some practice to controlling shadows, reflections, glare and color casts.
Studio lighting can be controlled and shaped to do what you want, whereas the sun doesn’t always follow your wishes.
When working with studio lighting there are so many different methods to using light-modifiers to control the light, this too can be very complex but fun to experiment.
Location lighting can present a completely new set of challenges. All these things add complexity and difficulty to portrait photography.
Now that I look at that shot I realize that I will need to go back and remove the red veins from the model’s eyes.
I’m looking forward to my next session working with models, using studio lighting, natural light or a mixture of both on location, either way I know I will be challenged and have fun learning.