27 Dec 2007

How to photograph people - simple portraits 2

My portrait of the rabbi was well received yesterday. So I thought I'd show you the second portrait I took immediately after the first. I asked this man to sit beside another small window in the synagogue and gave him precisely the same treatment.

Powerful sidelight is ideal for this type of subject because sidelight enhances texture - and that 'texture' reveals every wrinkle and line in the sitter's face. I went through a stage with this photograph when I thought that perhaps it would have been better if I had turned the man's head towards the light just a little more. But now I feel it is best the way it is. The intense shadow hides almost as much as the light reveals - and, for me, that adds rather than subtracts from the overall effect.

I believe black and white has far more impact and appeal for this type of photograph.

The total time taken to capture both the portraits amounted to no more than 5 or 6 minutes. It is vital to get things right first time in these situations. So practise by photographing friends at every opportunity. This practise will pay off handsomely when you find yourself in a situation where you need to pose a complete stranger and get the picture you envisage quickly and without fuss.

I was asked yesterday if I had any plans to do a Portrait Photography Workshop. This is a very good idea and I will see if I can set something up for later in the year. Meanwhile my next DVD will be out in the spring of 2008 - and that will cover Portraiture in Natural Light. I will keep you informed.

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