Throughout this summer last summer and during the early inklings of Fall.... I found myself taking a lot of portraits. I love practicing photography of all kinds...some which include styled "crafty" photos, simple life stills, nature and general city life. However nothing is more fun for me than taking pictures of people....and attempting to capture their inner light and personality through the lense has been a lovely learning experience.
I've mostly been experimenting on my friends...all of which have their own unique beauty and style. I really enjoyed helping them pick outfits, jewelry, and locations that really aided in highlighting their outlook on life and rang true to who they are. Above is my friend Becca...this shot is for her blog (which my husband and I are currently helping design). I wanted to bring out a richness and deep tone to the pictures...which for some reason remind me of Uganda...a place I know is dear to Becca's heart as taveler and freelance journalist.
While taking pictures of my sister in law Brittany (above) I noticed a simple field right across the street from the suburban neighborhood where she lives. I thought the wheat-like looking field (mostly full of weeds) would be pretty in contrast with Brittany's blond hair and big brown eyes. While I know I have a long way to go, I really feel this is one of my strongest portraits and shows off Britt's sweet spirit.
A scenario I really want to gain more confidence in is handling direct sunlight. In Portland, we get a lot of really nice overcast days. However as you can see in the photo directly above, I was dealing with a harsh direct sunlight... something I'd been avoiding. I think this photo of my friend Debbie turned out nicely despite...however in hindsight I feel that I may have processed it a little too light while editing. She looks stunning though and the bright colors very much suit her as a person...so in a way I prefer it slightly "bright"...as that reminds me of Deb.
My respect for professional photographers has really grown. It is very difficult to help somebody feel comfortable in front of the camera and the pressure you feel when it comes to turning out a beautiful photo can be pretty substantial. I REALLY wanted to please my subjects and make them feel lovely. I can only imagine how weighty this feeling must be when photographing a wedding or big "once in a lifetime" event.
This picture of my cousin Katie was taken in the entry way of her house. It was a good reminder that if you have brilliant soft light, it doesn't really matter how simple the location the pictures will be very flattering to your subject. I think Katie is really glowing in this picture...this was taken just right before her recent wedding and you can really see how happy she is.
My first "real" practice with my new camera (Nikon D5100 with a 35mm lense) was during a trip to visit my friend Bethany up in Northern Washington. I was pretty rusty and was still getting used to my camera...not to mention it was another bright day with a lot of direct sun. We thumbed around for some shade and finally found some in the corner of her yard. I thought this serene picture was really beautiful of her...and I think it was one of the few I took at the end where I was finally working WITH the light rather than against it.
Light is everything...as I'm reading in my photography books and observing in the photographers I respect and follow on the web. It can make the most young face look sallow if used incorrectly and make the oldest face glow if used to it's fullest. Luminous...is the word I suppose. I think "light" and I have a long way to go before I really learn to become it's best friend. However, I'm excited to use natural light to the fullest and study it as much as I can. My camera and I also need to fall in love with each other...one of my favorite photographers said, in her book, that she slept with her camera and took it everywhere she went. That was how well aquainted with it she became...so that changing settings while on a shoot became second nature. Now THAT would be cool.
Above is my husband. It's not really hard to make him feel comfortable in front of the camera...so long as he has a Portland Timber's shirt and a cigar ;) Expanding my practice will be great as I dive into film...and hopefully even get to process some of my own film in our bathroom! I'll let you know how that goes...could be pretty interesting...or a total diaster!
For any seasoned photographers who may be reading this blog...I'd love to get your feedback...of course I love hearing encouraging things...but kind critiques are welcomed as well. It helps me learn! Leave a comment below if you have any ideas....