One of the most important things for me as a Portrait Photographer is to capture images that are both striking & engaging. Even as a teenager when my love of Photography began, I was always drawn to Portraiture. Landscape Photography, Food Photography and even Wedding Photography never seemed to captivate me as much as a beautifully lit & well composed Portrait. I would class myself as a ‘people person’ & I guess this comes over in my work – I love creating images that draw you in & tell a story. When I see a Portrait I want to, even if it’s for seconds be so mesmerised that I forget where I am & I get consumed with the desire to found out more about the subject. Who are they? What do they do for a living? Where are they? Why are they sad? Why are they happy? I want my eyes to be searching around the frame looking for clues to these answers via their location or the clothes they are wearing. A small gesture, a thoughtful gaze. All of these things are like the ingredients that combine to create an amazing Portrait. For me, it’s never just about ‘taking a photo of someone’ it’s conveying an emotion to the viewer.
At the moment in my career I am hugely influenced by TV – movies, shows, documentaries and I really feel we live in a time that is so visually exciting. Opening titles that were once just a series of words have been replaced by a mixture of creative photography & typography. Blockbuster films are now much more cinematic with moody lighting & stylised colour grading. Box set bingeing is no longer just about spending hours catching up on Netflix, it’s a visual journey full of creativity. When I first met Peter I knew instantly what types of Portraits I would create. He has such a great face, one full of character & expression & I wanted every image to draw you in. The first thing I do with any Portrait client is to talk through ideas & inspirations, to begin the collaborative process. Peter mentioned the TV series ‘Sons of Anarchy’ which I hadn’t actually seen but I HAD seen publicity images which were dark, edgy & cinematic.
Pinterest is a fantastic Social Media tool & has been called an ‘online scrapbook’ whereby you can create ‘boards’ (which in the ‘old days’ would be called scrapbooks) then ‘pin’ any favourite or inspirational images to. You then create a catalogue of images which are great reference points for posing, lighting & compositions. I use this tool to sit with clients & reference images that have great lighting & compositions, to convey what my creative vision is for the shoot. It’s also a good way to talk about posing & expression, especially for subjects who are not professional models themselves & may be feeling a bit nervous about being in front of the camera. I have a board on my Pinterest page called ‘Male Portrait & Editorial Photography’:
Once the mood of the shoot was set I talked to Peter about choice of clothing, how I was going to light him with the Profoto lighting system & also how I wanted him to be in character. Oh boy, was he in character! It was an absolute pleasure to photograph Peter & the pre planning really paid off as he needed little or no direction. Great expression with the eyes is absolute key – the saying ‘the eyes are the windows of the soul’ may sound cheesy but it is absolutely true. A small movement, a glance, a frown can all dictate the mood for each individual frame. Here are a few of my favourite images both in a cinematic, toned colour image & a gritty, striking black & white.