Had fun shooting last night. Though initially I was apprehensive (more like frightened) with the prospect of taking photos of a roomful of judges. How do you actually give instructions to people who make a career giving out orders? Then there was a variety of technical issues to worry about including lighting, color temperature, and composition. On top of that I had to calm my nerves and at same time figure out how to make and keep my subject comfortable and relax. Portrait photography is so much different from sports or street photography.
After a few clicks, I realized just like most people, judges (not all but a good number of them) fear and freeze when in front of the camera. I can totally relate and I’m not even in front but right behind and holding the camera. But when the tensed smiles and stiff movements have been replaced with chatter, giggles and unrestrained laughter, the eyes seem to glow and the expeessions more flowing. As much as I would like to attribute the change of atmosphere to my pleasant personality 😂, the presence of friends and familiar faces, cheering and jeering in the sidelines lightened the mood for everyone and had people goofing around in no time.
Connecting and keeping your subject comfortable all thgh out the session is just as important than all the technical matters. Portriture is a tricky thing. Sunsets happen no matter what, you just have to chase them. Just as we are sure that sun will rise again tomorrow. We may catch it if we set our heart (alarm clocks) to it. But most people hate being photographed as much as they detest going to a dentist. Not everyone warms up easily or will find their natural rhythm with a lens pointed straight at them.
No matter how many articles we browse through or youtube videos that instruct us how to take better portraits, there’s no substitute for practice. I have a long way to go to feel comfortable with my skills both in handling the camera and connecting with my subject. At times, I’m tempted to get a better lens or add another light. A lame excuse to splurge on some new gear. Often, I just hope to for a spark or inspiration to work on my long overdue and over planned portrait project. Because I need a reason to keep shooting portraits.
My modest plan is to just keep shooting and come up with a montage of faces. A more ambitious goal was to put together articless and photographs of inspiring and strong WOMEN. I am fascinated with a good narrative as much as I am drawn to a compelling image. So Ive been trying to convince some friends and people I barely know to pose and share their story. It all boils down to finding an angle, whether in writing or photography.
I’m not giving myself a deadline. I just need to find a starting point.