Portrait photography can be one of the most challenging forms of photography. Capturing a photo that appears natural and conveys the subject’s personality is a skill that takes patience and practice.
The first thing you need to do is to ascertain the market place that the image will be going into. Is it a quick online portrait or is it going to print as a large A4 image? A lot of portraiture I do is simple photography against a white background. his is the most effective if you only have a small image area to display the photography such as an “about us” page on a website. Here the portrait needs to be engaging and friendly.
Environmental portraits are often more compile in nature. Firstly you need to understand the subject and the intended use that the client has for the images. I have done a lot of photography for large organisations around Melbourne and Sydney where the images are displayed as A1 size posters around a factory domain. This serves two purposes, firstly it gives the company and image which should be consistent with its branding. Secondly and I often feel more importantly it gives the subject and immense sense of pride that they have been recognised by the company in their job.
Working with a designer is critical if they have a specific purpose for the image. I love shooting with a live tether onto a laptop so the client and designer can see what is being recorded in almost realtime with all of the adjustments on image quality made in a program like Capture One or Adobe Lightroom.
I like small portable lighting where i can respond to the environment and time demands of the subject very quickly. There have been significant improvements in the ability to control small portable lighting recently, in particular the Pocket Wizard company have release the Flex TTL system which combined with AC3 unit gives great control over lighting.