A portrait is Created in the Mind of the Photographer, the Camera is just a tool to get it onto Paper!

A client calls you about a portrait session.  You or your staff talks to them about the type of portrait they want to have taken and the purpose it is to fill (spouse, family, business,etc.).  You make  the appointment time and prepare the client for the session with a consultation, video or brochure.  On the day of the session, you help select the client’s clothing from what they brought in and you prepare the backgrounds/sets that they have selected out of your sample books, with the changes needed to fit that specific client.

Once the client has changed into her clothing, you set her down and explain the process of how you will be photographing her.  As you are talking, you are looking at her eyes to see how they reflect light, the shape of her face as well as looking at how her hair flows to determine the type of lighting you should use and it’s direction.  You look at the different parts of her body that will show, as you start thinking of the poses that you will use to make her look her best.  You adjust your lighting, show the client her pose and then check to make sure everything is perfect and what you have envisioned.  At this point, you pick up the camera to take your first test shot, NOW STOP and take notice.  Although this process has only taken a few minutes, the portrait was created in your mind long before it was every recorded with your camera.  This is the way in which a professional photographer photographs.  This is what all that training and learning is for!

Many younger photographers grab a camera without any thinking or planning and just start shooting, never knowing what they are really capturing until they view the images in the computer.  Some people respond to this by saying they have a relaxed style and don’t pose their clients, they just photograph what happens.  When you photograph someone, you can pose them and take control of every part of them that will appear in the frame or you can involved them with something and record their interaction.  Doing nothing isn’t an option.  The command, “go stand over there” isn’t interaction or posing, it’s not knowing what you are doing and hoping for the best!  Stop picking up the camera until you use the most important tool in professional photography, your mind!

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~ by jeffsmithbooks on July 13, 2010.

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