Mastering Portrait Photography
Updated: Mar 30, 2019
What makes a good portrait?
In all great portraits, there are several things in common: a balanced composition, a connection between the subject and the photographer and appropriate lighting. A good portrait represents the subject at their best and shows their identity e.g: musician, artist, business professional.
How do you prepare for a portrait shoot?
I prepare for a portrait shoot by firstly researching the person I am going to be photographing. It’s important to have a good idea of their personality, likes, dislikes, career and achievements etc to ensure that their experience with me is suitable for their needs and requirements. We have an initial consultation to discuss ideas and look at reference images. This gives us both a clear understanding of what we are trying to achieve. From there we can then make other preparations such booking a studio or location and hiring other professional such as hair and makeup artists, clothing stylists etc.
Where do you get your inspiration for each portrait?
Firstly, it depends on what kind of portrait I’m taking, is it a head shot for a business professional, an artistic portrait of a musician or performer, or is it a portrait of a character for a movie poster? Once this has been established, I can then draw inspiration from my own knowledge and understanding of that specific style or industry as well as taking inspiration from person or character them self.
Do you come up with the initial idea for the portrait, or does the client?
It always varies, for some portrait photo-shoots a client will come to me with their own ideas, and with my professional experience we will discuss them further to see what’s possible to get the best result. Sometimes a client comes to me with an open mind and is happy to trust me completely to take a great portrait of them.
What makes it difficult to take a portrait?
Lack of communications with your subject/client can be a problem because in order to create a great portrait both subject and photographer need to have a clear idea and understanding of what they are aiming to achieve.
Unrealistic expectations - Now more than ever, we are seeing an increase in images with a heavy amount of retouching, lots of makeup and the use of filters and image effects on social media. It is important that the client has a good understanding of what is achievable and how element of the photo-shoot has an effect e.g: lighting, makeup, retouching, etc.
How many shots do you take on average before you get the final image?
Every shoot is completely different. Sometimes you get the shot almost straight away, other times it can take more effort and patience. There is no way to predict this really, until you are in the studio with the subject. This is why it’s always important to book a little more time than you think you will need, just in case you realise you need to re-shoot something or try out another idea.
Daylight or Studio light?
I am experienced using both daylight and studio lighting. It all down comes down to what kind of image the client would like. Lighting can really change the mood of an image, so it’s always good to look at different reference images and test the light at the beginning of the shoot.
See more of Garcia's portrait photographer portfolio here.
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