This isn’t the first time I’ve posted a photo of Katie S. but I can’t help it. This photo was taken years ago and Katie was one of my favorite subjects.
Several of my studio photography students spent most of the day yesterday getting face paint applied and then documenting their efforts in the studio. The makeup artist was Alli, who is also a talented photographer. The subject of this portrait is Valerie, who is a talented photographer, too. And she is a natural in front of the camera.
Canon 5DIII 1/125s f/8.0 ISO200 70mm
After finishing our “normal” outdoor and studio sessions, Emily asked if we could get together for a few photos when winter set in. Being inexperienced with taking outdoor portraits in cold weather I said, “Sure.”
And it theory it was a good idea. In practice, I found that I got only a few photos before the cold January day turned her face from rosy red to red. So much for winter portraits on a cold day. But even in bad conditions, it’s hard to take a bad picture of a good subject like Emily.
(Incidentally, my weather source tells me that it averaged 4 degrees celsius and reached a high of 10 degrees. That’s cold!)
Canon 5DI 1/200s f/3.2 ISO100 100mm
I’ve been a little wordy in the photo blog lately. So I’ll spare you today. This is Elise B in a relaxed moment in my studio a few years ago.
Canon 1DII (?) 1/250s f/8.0 ISO100 58mm
So I was looking for a connector for my iPad yesterday, which I hadn’t seen since May. And though I didn’t find the connector, I did find a collection of DVDs of senior portraits I had taken in the summer of 2004. And when I saw “Allison R” on one of the labels, I immediately remembered this particular outfit and pose.
Allison was a beautiful subject who came to the session with many props and ideas. I am always worried when a portrait subject says he or she wants to bring a prop. I usually ask two questions: 1)Is it living? 2)Is it bigger than your face?
The first question is because living things (boy friends, snakes, cats, dogs, parrots, etc) can be challenging, though I’ll takes snakes over the other animals listed.
The second question is because, if you ask me (who is admittedly old fashioned), I think a portrait is about the face.
In Allison’s case, she brought her cello (bigger than her face but OK by me) and a huge, hot pink prom dress. The prom dress begged for a high-key treatment and that’s what we ended up doing. Allison liked this photo and so did I, largely because she is very comfortable in the shot and she has a wonderful, relaxed smile. Allison ordered this photo in color and when I did some basic re-editing today, I decided to convert it to black and white, maybe because I am even more old fashioned than I used to be – I don’t want you to be distracted by the bright color of her dress.
I have been writing a bit about what is “real” in the last few posts and I think that this is the “real” Allison. And that’s what portrait photographers should always strive to capture.
Every once and a while I discover a photo I’d forgotten I had taken. Such is the case with today’s portrait of Desi. This photo was taken in 2002, when I knew very little about portraiture and digital photography.
What I did know was that the secret to good photography was good light. In this case, there is some ambient light in the old farm house we are in. But I was also using a Canon strobe light and a white shoot-through umbrella to my right. The beauty of this lighting set-up was that if I used aperture priority with my Canon flash, my Canon camera would meter the flash just right. It provided wonderful light that looked like window light. You wouldn’t necessarily know that this is an example of flash photography. (I checked the metadata, and, if you look at the catchlight’s in Desi’s eyes, you can see the umbrella.)
Canon 1D 1/160s f/1.8 ISO320 50mm Scott Shephard
In my search for photos from my early days of digital portraiture, I came across this photo of Joelle that I took almost 9 years ago. I had a great subject but the the photo also represents the power of Aperture by Apple as an editing tool in that in a minute or two I was able to retouch and then enhance the photo. All of this was done in preparation for my Advanced Digital Photography class at Lake Area Technical Institute.
One of the nice things about teaching photography is that I learn at every step along the way and today was no exception.
I took this portrait the first year I was serious about senior portrait photography. That was almost 10 years ago. The camera was the Canon 1D, which was a groundbreaking digital camera. It cost $5500 and had a whopping 4.4 megapixel sensor!
I had a lot to learn about photographing people back in 2002 but I did get a few things right in this photo. First, how could I go wrong with Darcie? I was lucky to have the opportunity to photograph her. While I can take no credit for her good looks, I will take credit for finding the right light and the right moment for this portrait.
We were at Terrace Park in Sioux Falls and I knew that the morning light was best for this particular location. That meant we had to leave Watertown pretty early to get to Sioux Falls by 9 am.
As for “the moment,” I will say that I had no book learning on this but that even from the beginning I had a bit of an intuitive sense of when to press the shutter button. On this particular day, I had already taken over 50 photos of Darcie and so by the time I took this one, both of us were relaxed. And anyone who does this kind of portraiture knows how important that is.
(NOTE: This photo was originally posted as a color image but the more I looked at it, the less I liked it. So I have revised my post with a black and white image that does have a little “glamour” applied in Photoshop.)
Canon 1D 1/125s f/4.5 ISO250 91mm