Studio Portraiture Final Images

Having done plenty of research and a draft session already, I felt quite well prepared for my final shoot.

From my draft shoot I learned that props are an effective way of bringing out the personality of a person. However, I decided that my models should bring their own props this time rather than using props which I thought were right. I instructed my models to bring something or a few things to the studio which they loved or couldn’t live without. I thought this was better than providing my own as the images would feel less manufactured by myself.
Also I decided to steer away from group shots with multiple models. Although this provides very interesting subject matter, I decided that it was inappropriate for my project and turned the images into more a study of relationships rather than an insight into an individual. I think the group shots would make for an intriguing project of its own.

Due to what I had read and my experience whilst using a high key set up with these models I decided to go for a mid key set up using a gray background, by doing this I was hoping to avoid influencing any of my models emotions.

I wanted my images to be quite bright despite being mid key and I had to consider this when creating my lighting set ups. I had shot some images which gave quite a muted feel to the images and I felt this was nice because it discretely draws the audience away from bright colours and onto facial expressions. Black and white portraits do this in a similar way although they can enhance texture and contrast at the same time. I considered black and white but decided against it simply on personal preference. The difficulty came when photographing Emily (the oldest of the 3). She has bright red hair and I felt that using the very soft light I was using for the younger two to mute the colours wasn’t working with her. I changed the lighting to make the images of her slightly darker and more contrasty which worked to make the red hair add to the aesthetics of the image rather than distract. Also I felt her bright hair colour was a suitable reflection of her personality therefore the lighting set up was still in keeping and appropriate to my project.

Studio Portraiture Draft

I invited my potential models to the studio to capture some draft images and do some experimenting with the use of multiple models and props.

These are a couple of the shots which I captured which best show the results of my experiment. I understand that the lighting is incorrect in most of the images and a couple aren’t exposed exactly how they should have been. However, bear in mind that this is a draft and at this moment in time I was focussing more on how the models reacted to the circumstances they were put in to prepare for my final series of images.

As you can see I was correct in the presumption that the models would interact with one another in quite interesting ways, which in fact provided me with some quite creative and interesting images. Also, I introduced the Ukulele prop which the young lad, Will, couldn’t get enough of. He straight away turned into a miniature rock star and loudly began serenading his sisters. The older of the three, Emily, began to lose patience with her siblings as she wanted me to capture some nice shots of them together not being silly. However once a couple of these were captured she also ended up just having fun with it. I’m unsure as to whether the high key set up I used helped to energise the two younger siblings into behaving this way as there was insufficient time to try a low key set up.

I feel this was good preparation for my final shoot, and it’s helped me to realise what works and what doesn’t.

Studio Portraiture Initial Ideas

Having recently received the brief for the module: Lens Based Media in Practice (Studio), Part 2 “Advanced Portraiture/Fashion” I decided that I wanted to focus more on portraiture rather than fashion. I decided this because that is what interests me personally, when I photograph a person, I’m usually looking to reveal something about who that person is rather than just looking at what they are wearing.

I still maintain that fashion photography can be aesthetically spectacular and a very useful commercial marketing tool, but to achieve premium results within this sector you would need to be working with professional models, makeup artists and clothing designers in my opinion.

Looking at portraiture however, it’s more effective to keep the session very personal and relaxed in order to encourage your model to be them self (or maybe even create tension in the session to provoke a response), and you might be lucky enough to capture something which speaks about a person more deeply than mere aesthetics.

Taking all of this into account, I think I will focus my attention to photographing people I know well. Doing this will mean I have relaxed models who know me and know what I do, which should prove very helpful to me when photographing them. I also want to create something which breaks the mould a little and pushes me into experimenting with new ideas. Therefore, I think I’ll be attempting to use props with my models to help peer into their personality in a whole new way rather than just concentrating on facial expression.

Not only this, but I may try some group shots with 2 or maybe 3 people who are comfortable with each other in the hope that they will interact with one another and give an insight into the relationships between models. Another thing I’m hoping to experiment with is the lighting styles and the effect of these on my models. Having done some prior research, I have discovered a theory that high key set ups will encourage a model to be energetic in front of the camera, and low key set ups will cause models to be a lot more subdued. I’m hoping to experiment with this and see what type of set up will work best for the images I am trying to achieve.