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Wk 2 - Research Portraiture and Practise shots

Second week in and my portfolio idea seems to be moving along quite nicely.  I have had a few ideas jumping around in my head, but portraits seem to be the main stay.

At this moment i have been working with the idea of taking black and white photos of my subject in front of a black background.  Prior to my one on one meeting with Caryline i was considering a few too many ideas - My genre is editorial, my sub genre being life portraitures.  I was looking at doing:

  • Family portraits
  • Individual portraits
  • Samoan traditional portraits

Caryline's response was "that's ambitious" and yes, it is.  As time is the biggest factor in this equation I have decided to focus on the individual portraits.

The photographer i have been following is Sue Bryce.  She is New Zealander currently live in LA.  She is renowned for her portrait photography and is part of an organisation called Creative Live.  Creative Live is about empowering creative people push their limits.  They provide workshops in photography, video, design, business, audio, music and software training.

As studio photography is such a new thing for me i wanted to look for information regarding how to pose subjects who are curver.  Sue Bryce provides a great tutorial regarding how to take flattering photos of subjects.  I will definitely use some of these techniques when working with my models in the studio.  By using these techniques i know my models will be very interested what the outcomes will be.  My aim as always is to capture the best photos of my subjects.

Here is the video from Sue:
Sue also has a blog which she documented her series of photographing girls with curves.

Before going into the studio i wanted to take some practise shots with my model.  I used natural light and took a variety of different angles to see how the light and shadows sit on her face.  Below is a copy of the contact sheet of our photoshoot.

I did photograph her from different vantage points, using a step ladder to get some high angle shots and crouching lower for the low angle shots.

My model has distinct features.  Her blonde hair and her dark features will translate well in to black and white photos.  The natural light paired with the gold reflected complimented her skin tone by appearing even and warm.  This is great for colour photos but in black and white photos her skin colour becomes a darker shade.  Which may need to be touched up in photoshop, personally i don't want to do too much post production.

Most angles worked for her, it would be a matter of giving directions to push her chin out and neck up to elivate any focus under her neck which is a pain for alot of people.  Sue Bryce spoke about how high angle shots are an old school style of portrait photography which is commonly used.  It's a bit dated and sometimes quite boring.   I guess with the upsurge in the selfie shot its not that big a deal.  Her advice was to photograph the subject just above their eye level.  Just for my own practise, i will incorporated her advice in my photo shoots.  I think it would be a good practise for me not to rely on the high angle shots but to experience producing good shots from all angles.


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