Portrait photography is what I love doing. A portrait photography commission, whether in a studio or on location, allows both the commissioner or the portrait and me as the artist to explore different facets of your personality and sometimes of your identity.
It does not matter whether you are completely outgoing, or a little apprehensive, the point is, once you are comfortable with the artist you will relax and you will be amazed at the end results.
Having just completed a few days shooting in a studio setting with lights and backdrops and the minimal of props, I was able to achieve within a short space of time, a variety of portraits that can be used for professional as well as personal reasons.
Two of the volunteers where actors, one was a model and the other two simply wanted to have professional portraits taken of themselves. Something that had not done before.
Studio vs Location
Within a studio setting, the portrait photographer has more control over the lighting and the background. The emphasis will be on the person (or persons) who has commissioned the work, with no distracting elements. This is not to say that on location a similar emphasis is not used, however as the photographer, unless you bring a lighting rig with you, you are much more at the mercy of the available light at the location.
In this image Green Space, it was a warm summers evening just before sunset so we had evening light that was very gentle. The location was a great space with lots wild water birds. I was struck by the variety of shades of green in this image. It surrounds and engulfs the man in the image, but although he is not the largest single subject, he is still the main focus. The lines on the wall and the perspective leads you directly to him.
In the studio portrait above, the woman is the main focus. The image is tightly framed so that there is virtually no background. She is facing the main light source, but you can see by the shading that the lighting is uneven with much more on her right than on her left. This is known as low key lighting. It gives a more dramatic effect to the overall composition.
How to commission a Portrait
If you are thinking of commissioning a photography portrait, there are a few things you should consider.
- Why do you want a portrait
- What style of portrait do you want
- Do you want a studio or location backdrop
- Is a portrait for a single person, couple or group
- How do you want the finished portrait to be presented
These are a few questions for which you should have the answers. Why? Because they will help you to focus you search for a) the type of artist b) the cost of the portrait commission.
For me, I love doing portrait commissions because it allows me to meet and start conversations with people who have many varied experiences of life. Those conversations continue in the images that together we create.