Advice for The Aspiring Portrait PHOTOGRAPHER A photographer could setup a studio, or work as a traveling

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  • Ed Verosky

    Portrait PHOTOGRAPHER

    Advice for The Aspiring

  • Advice For The Aspiring Portrait Photographer. Copyright 2015 Edward Verosky. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission, in writing from the author/publisher.

    Learn more about Photography at edverosky.com

    https://edverosky.com

  • Contents

    The Art & Craft of Portraiture ............................................................... 4 Classic Lighting and Posing ........................................................................................4 Contemporary Portraiture ............................................................................................6 It Used To Be Harder To Get In ...................................................................................6 Now It’s Harder To Stay In ...........................................................................................7 Everybody’s Doing It ....................................................................................................7

    Your Portfolio ......................................................................................... 9 Your Body of Work is Your Story..................................................................................9 Your Portfolio is Your Showcase .................................................................................9 Portfolio Presentation ................................................................................................10

    Portfolio Building ................................................................................ 12 Start An Art Project ....................................................................................................12 Experiment Whenever Possible ................................................................................13

    Finding Models .................................................................................... 14 Trading Services ........................................................................................................14 Where To Look For Subjects .....................................................................................15 What to look for in a potential subject .......................................................................16 Model Releases .........................................................................................................18

    Working With Models .......................................................................... 19 Inspire Your Subject...................................................................................................19 Make It Personal........................................................................................................20 The Basic Portrait Setup............................................................................................21 Set Limits for Better Results ......................................................................................22

    Post-Processing .................................................................................. 25 Capture The Most Information ...................................................................................25 The Basics .................................................................................................................25

    Developing Your Style ......................................................................... 27 Mastering Your Tools & Techniques ...........................................................................27 Simplify and Standardize Your Process.....................................................................28 Think Like An Artist ....................................................................................................28 Free Yourself .............................................................................................................29 Your Vision, Your Style ..............................................................................................31

  • 4

    The Art & Craft of Portraiture

    We look at each other. That’s what human beings do. In each other’s faces and forms we find cues, read emotion, feel attraction or unease, and ultimately recognize ourselves. The portrait makes it possible to look at someone as they appeared at the time and place, and under the conditions the image was made. We, as viewers of the portrait, mentally process it in a way that tells us that we are looking at another person, not just a two-dimensional print or projection. Any portrait can give us that sense, however a well-made portrait can create a much stronger sense of connection.

    The craft of portraiture has evolved over time and skill sets have necessarily changed as new technologies and mediums emerge. What was once the province of those who could acquire and handle the complicated hardware, technical, and chemical processes, is now accessible by virtually everyone. The general public is now able to take good pictures with little effort or expense, and there is a wealth of instruction on producing skilled portraiture, available in books and on the internet, to anyone interested.

    This is a book focused on the topic of portraiture artistry but here, we’re referring to portraiture as craft, too. Not all photography results in art, and it doesn’t have to. There is a time and place for basic, skilled, conventional portraiture as well as innovative portraiture that was once an artistic instance but evolved into a template for craft. There’s also a time and place to break away from it.

    Here, I’ll talk about how the fundamentals of portraiture lighting establish a basis for all portraiture. I’ll also discuss how contemporary portrait photographers approach their craft and offer reasons why going beyond the basics of conventional portraiture may be a necessary jump. The message is simple: You should know the basics so you can transcend them. You should be capable of being skillfully unique.

    Classic Lighting and Posing Classic lighting patterns, together with traditional posing, are two elements of photography that define certain long established conventions for portraiture. Here, we’re less concerned with covering traditional “shots,” such as one might expect to see in a wedding or family album, and more interested in covering the classic lighting styles and poses that can be applied generally to any subject.

    Photographic portraiture has been a viable means of capturing the likeness of a person since the 1840s. By that time, the processes used to chemically fix a permanent image projected through a lens and onto some material had already been discovered. The skillful application of this chemical and mechanical technology made it possible for anyone with the right materials and technical background to make a career out of portraiture.

  • 5

    A photographer could setup a studio, or work as a traveling practitioner, and service a market that ordinarily wouldn’t be able to afford traditional painted portraiture. Photography made it possible for more people than ever to have realistic portraits of themselves and their loved ones. It was a new way of seeing, remembering, and sharing human connections that really changed the way people experienced life. From then on, it would be hard to imagine a world without photographs of the people you love and the times you shared.

    Still, the work of oil-and-canvas artists served as the original archetype of portraiture. Even today, we still refer to one type of lighting pattern as “Rembrandt,” based on a style of lighting used by a Dutch painter working some two-hundred years before the proliferation of photography.

    Early on, photographers had little else than paintings and realistic drawings to model their portraits after. Similarly, their clients had expectations for photographic portraiture that were largely based on paintings they had seen. But eventually, photography would build its own reference points and establish its own conventions of lighting and posing. The development and use of these conventions would be largely dependent on the availability of natural and artificial light, and the capabilities of the cameras themselves. As technologies improved, photographers experimented and refined their methods, and the most useful portraiture techniques survived the test of time.

    Contemporary styles of portraiture are sure to change from time to time, but the basics never really go completely out of style. Human faces and figures, and the general criteria we measure beauty by, remain amazingly consistent from generation to generation.

    The way we prefer to see light and shadow fall across another human face must also be somehow hard-wired into us. So, it stands to reason that certain traditional lighting patterns, first discovered and distilled by other visual artists, were not invented arbitrarily, but identified over time as the most appealing and eventually made their way into the standard methodology. The basic five lighting patterns you should learn are generally considered the most instructive and useful. These are:

    • Short Lighting

    • Broad Lighting

    • Butterfly (Hollywood/Paramount) Lighting

    • Split Lighting

    • Rembrandt Lighting

    Take a look at Ed Verosky’s Guide to Flash Photography for in-depth instruction on lighting and the five portrait lighting patterns.

    Of course, lighting isn’t the only tool used in creating a portrait. Posing is the o