There are three things that are musts for awesome portraits. I’m willing to wager these are so obvious that it goes without say, but nonetheless, it’s sometimes the simplest things that are the most difficult to bring together.
The first is light, which surely isn’t rocket science to any photographer. Jakob and I obsess over this and have light engrained in our minds whenever we do anything. Â This is everything to us, and always the number one thing we look for.
Next up is the people. No kidding, again. The interactions and chemistry between us as shooters and the “models” is something we’ve always been fairly good at, and we really have no recipe for this other then just being ourselves.
The first two things are something that you can prepare for all you want at the beginning of a portrait session, but at the end of the day, controlling and predicting these two things is nearly impossible.
The light will do its thing and we have to react to whatever it decides. The people we photograph, often times, we’ve never met the people before, so who knows what they’ll be like. Again, it’s a reading and reacting situation because with our style, it comes down to how we communicate with people we’re photographing, and everyone has a different emotional barometer.
So the third key ingredient to a great portrait session is something that we can control, and that’s the environment. This is a skill, and where photographers can really separate themselves from the pack if they invest the time into shoot preparations, and really put their creative foots forward.
With this weeks picture, I used an example of how Jakob used the environment in a really clever way. It was during an engagement session in Victoria, and the weather was acting very funny, so we had a feeling the sun wasn’t going to be on our side. With that in mind, we scouted locations quite heavily, and while doing so, Jakob noticed this tree sitting alone along the road.
Why I’m particularly fond of the picture though is what he did with it. Sure, it’s a nice tree (maybe). But anyone can take a picture of a beautiful couple beside a tree.
But who thinks of doing this with the tree?
I certainly didn’t.
So the conclusion here is accepting the reality that light and the people you photograph are sometimes out of your control. You show up, you read and react, and so long as you’re a technically sound photographer, things probably will work out just fine.
But to stand out amongst a talented pool of photographers, thinking differently about the environment is something within your control, so why not give oneself the best opportunity to have a killer session and viciously prepare.
(Pick of the weekÂ ONE,Â TWO,Â THREE,Â FOUR,Â FIVE, SIX)