I love shooting portraits of interesting people with interesting faces mixed often with a subtle hint of intrigue, danger or a dozen other compelling factors. And I don’t mind the commonplace person. In many ways, the everyday personage has outstanding characteristics that bring them to the forefront of desirability as a portrait subject.
Shooting street type portraits is a challenge. I use no fancy lighting setups, electronic flashes, reflectors or extra ordinary means of capturing an image. Experimentation and experience have taught me that natural light, providing you pay attention, works well for non-studio, non-edited portraits. But stark reality conveyed by an up close and personal image can be an eye opener. Men as well as women are often skeptical that their image will be flattering. I would be skeptical also.
During my photographic journeys I meet people and according to my wife I have never met a stranger. So, I am not shy to explain to a subject who I am and what I am doing when asking to take their portrait. Now, I am careful not to wear my Ted Bundy, molester, stalker or ax murderer face when I am requesting a portrait. And, I do not troll supermarkets, doctors waiting rooms and the likes of other inappropriate places for portrait subjects. I go through my normal routine and meet wonderful people along the way.
No one yet has flat out refused, but quite a few were reluctant. When I demonstrated how painless the process was … they normally relented. To put their mind at ease, I always show them the photograph accompanied by a complement.
The portrait process is painless. Sit there, turn this way, look this way and smile. In ten or twenty seconds four or five frames have been taken. About the largest problem I have encountered when shooting a portrait would be getting the subject to keep their eyes open. At times, the closing of eyes seems to be an instinctive reflex.
No matter how many street portraits I take, I am still surprised by what can be found in each and every one. I am attracted, when studying the portraits, to the eyes that express so much information such as excitement, devilish charm, concern, candor, playfulness and hidden desires. They are wonderful.
Next week … Snapper Days …
For more portraits go to http://www.oldguyphotography.com