Portraits & Creative Portraits
Portrait: /ˈpôrtrət,ˈpôrˌtrāt/ – a painting, drawing, photograph, or engraving of a person, especially one depicting only the face, head, or shoulders.
The largest genre within Photography is Portraiture, without a doubt. Moreover, it has exploded into a large number of specialized areas. Presently, common examples include Professional, Family, Bridal, Engagement, and High-School Senior portraits. However, others such as Baby Portraits and Creative Portraits are becoming more and more popular.
Making a Great Portrait
A lot goes into making a quality portrait. First, compositional elements such as lighting technique, color, and posing must be considered. Second, one must choose a suitable setting or background and select any props that might be needed. Third, questions must be answered such as how much of the person to include in the frame. Fourth, the more technical elements such as lens choice and the amount of background blur (known as bokeh) is selected.
Presumably, all of these and more contribute to the desired look and feel one is going for. Portraits are commonly done in-studio, but are also often done on-location using portable lighting equipment. Below and toward the right is an example of one of my Creative Portraits, done in-studio. Made in 2015, it is Mississippi High-School State Champion running back Dee Fleming. Incidentally, it was created in a “Sports Illustrated cover” style. Accordingly, the pose, props (his pads), lighting, and spraying him with simulated sweat were all part of the shot. Ultimately, it is a dramatic, fun and unique portrait that he will always have to remember his successful high school football career by.
My creative workflow centers around an idea called “subject-centered photography.” Very simply, it means that I focus upon you and capturing a unique, special image that is uniquely YOU. This is in contrast to an approach that “fits” you into a set, routine way of photographing each and every person that a photographer makes portraits of. That approach is a “photographer centered approach.” Especially with the Professional and Creative Portraits I make, I want to explore beyond the surface and capture something unique to you in some way. I want to tell your story, or at least some aspect of your story in the image.
This requires talking with you and some planning in order to get to know you, understand your personality (or some aspect of it), and learn some of the things you are passionate about. My goal is to truly individualize and personalize the pose, the look, and the entire feel of your image so that it truly represents you in a way unique and special to you. That is being intentional and focused with creating your special portrait, and not just sitting you down and blasting away with my shutter and calling for “next.” Look back through all of my images at left, below, and above. Note how each is unique. This is subject-centered photography and portraiture. Instead of fitting each and every person I photograph into my “mold” … this approach pushes me as a visual artist to get something special – of you!