Portrait photography: who do you trust?
Portrait photography is a photograph of a person or group of persons that captures the personality of the subject by using effective lighting, backdrops and pose.
That’s a precise definition of portraiture and I couldn’t help but reproduce it here.
I understand portraiture as a type of photography that best defines human interest. As with every genre of photography, this type of photography is particularly challenging and appeals to a select group of photographers. This is because the masters of portrait photography possess a unique and extensive skill set.
One important secret of lasting portrait photographs is the relationship between the subject and the photographer. From my experience, some of the best portrait photographs I have taken are the ones in which I had a good rapport with my subject. Hence, it goes without saying that a good portrait photographer is a good communicator, thinker, and team player.
Striking a good subject/photographer understanding.
A good portrait should be your passport to the world and tell a story about the person in the photograph. Although this thought maybe at the forefront of my mind, and at the back of it, I know having a friendly, sincere relationship with my subject is an essential part of the process.
Having a 5-minutes sincere chat about something else other than photography has been a working formula for me. The subject of such chat must be positive and could be on music, sports, family, etc. Just enough for them to express their emotions through words. So when I roll out the camera, they are not intimidated to express these emotions through body language.
Working WITH your subject and not ON your subject is the key to capturing vital images. Explaining my thoughts and ideas to my subject makes them feel important and part of the process, rather than me gesticulating and directing them through it the whole time.
Your trust is there already!
For the photographer born to do a portrait, the first indicator of a budding mutual trust is the invitation from the client wanting to work with you. As with most of my clients, such an invitation finally leads me to their home – their ultimate personal space. Seeing they trust me by allowing me into their home, the least I could do is knowing who my subject is, and putting this knowledge in prints. As viewers, we are compelled by portraits that show people’s emotions. And only the subject who trust the photographer with his emotions can have it captured in a portrait.