Fine Art Portraiture
As a portrait photographer capturing images of people is what I do, it’s my passion. My photography is always about people. And I love capturing portraits. But what is a portrait? Well, Wikipedia defines a portrait as, “a painting, photograph, sculpture or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expressions are predominant.” It’s all about the face, the expression, and the mood that is conveyed in your portrait. What is the portrait, and the portrait photographer, saying to the viewer? Has the portrait photographer captured the essence of the subject? Those are the questions that may be asked of the work of a portrait photographer.
What Kind Of Portrait Would You Like To Have?
There are many styles a portrait photographer may focus on (intended pun), such as fine art, environment portraits, or black and white to name some.
Fine Art Portraits.
I will confess a love for fine art portraits. This is not just the act of capturing an image, but of adding some artistic impression to it, something unique to the artist. It may be making a portrait into a “painterly” image. Look at the two images below, the original photographs have been digitally painted over, and none of the original pixels exist. These would be considered “fine art”. It is a somewhat overused term, sometimes a portrait photographer will consider a studio shot a fine image, and call it fine art. It isn’t, there’s more to it than that.
Where Will Your Portrait Go?
An important question that might be asked by any portrait photographer is “What will you do with your portrait?”
If it’s a simple head & shoulders shot destined for your business profile or your social media page, that might be better defined and treated as a headshot.
A professional portrait on the other hand has a purpose, it should ideally be hung on a wall, at the very least in a good-sized frame if it’s going to be on a shelf.
Any portrait photographer that I know will tell you that they would love to see their works of art, printed large, beautifully framed, and hung in a prominent location. That’s ideally what everyone wants, however…
While some clients want to hang large wall portraits, others want smaller framed photographs that will sit on a shelf or dresser, and sometimes a small album with a selection of images is the goal. There are of course many options available for your final portraits, something to discuss with your portrait photographer.
Is This A Special Occasion?
Have you had a life event, perhaps a milestone birthday, something that makes you want to capture a beautiful portrait? Maybe the children have left home and it’s an empty nest, maybe even a divorce. Whatever the reason, if we are going to do this, shouldn’t we do it right? I mean really, really right. Let’s make sure that your professional portrait is a stunning one, something that you will absolutely want to display. Something that causes anyone who walks into the room to stop and say, “Wow”. That’s my wish for every single client I ever worked with.
What To Wear?
Prior to your session, it’s always best to have a discussion with your portrait photographer about outfits, colors, and accessories. Do you want to dress up? Or dress down, for a more casual look? Perhaps the aim is a sultry look.
Choose a style for what you imagine to be the final look we will work on. That may change, but at least start off with a plan. Will it be a fashion look, laughing, or maybe pensive, try to imagine some expressions that you might like to display. These are all topics we can discuss before the day of your session. The internet is the greatest source of ideas we have ever had, you can get lots of ideas there.
A Fascinating Bedsheet Story.
If you have a few minutes, watch this video. A world-famous actress is booked for a cover shoot. An entire New York subway station has been booked and paid for, it’s all blocked off. The photographer comes over from Europe. Then the actress decides that she doesn’t want to make the trip. It’s all re-arranged, and yet again it goes awry.
In the end, the cover shot was made with the actress standing in a corner, with a bed sheet. It’s absolutely iconic. And it goes to prove, you can use anything to create art, and even famous portrait photographers have challenges, and some!
Great Portrait Photographers.
Speaking of famous photographers, I have a list of who I consider in my humble opinion to be the best portrait photographers, masters in creating portrait photos,. Here are some links to images by people that definitely impress me with their photography skills and awesome work. Check them out on Instagram & Facebook if you like.
Steve McCurry. Annie Liebovitz. Rory Lewis. Herb Ritts.
I can be inspired by the work of a fashion photographer, a street photographer, and even people who do fantastic self portraits. Photography is such a varied art form, you can draw inspiration from so many avenues, from Vogue and Vanity Fair, across the spectrum to National Geographic.