Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back to basics: The Portrait Session

I had the chance to shoot portraits for a wonderful client this weekend, Helen, who simply wanted professional-grade photos of herself. In a real no-frills way, I think the session was highly successful. This shoot reaffirmed that I love even the most basic forms of photography: the black and white portrait.

Helen indicated that she liked black and white shots, which often do not make up the bulk of my work, as much as I like them. I think one of my old photography professors often referred to them as a crutch for those who couldn't shoot in color well. As much as I don't agree with that, I think it still resonates from time to time.

I tried to keep the B&W mindset during the session, and played off the surroundings of her home as well as my available lighting to ensure some of those shots would come out well.

100% non-pro-tip: An $8 halogen work-light at 250 watts does wonders as a fill-light when using a 1 flash setup. I diffused and bounced the flash as necessary, and put the halogen through an umbrella when needed. $8 well spent.

Helen and I worked through the concept of each pose on the fly, and while insisting she never modeled before, managed to preemptively correct for almost every suggestion I was going to bring up with her own simple and natural adjustments. This made my life that much easier, and I could focus on the mechanics.

Hopefully now with the weather turning more towards the favorable kind in terms of outdoor shooting, I'll be out and about snapping more portraits within the spring scenery. Fingers crossed that's sooner rather than later.

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