I don’t often shoot portrait photography. Not that I don’t wanna do them but simply because most of the requests that I get are for headshots. of course some people are gonna tell you that headshots are portraits but I won’t argue the point. since I’ve been in business, I think that it’s been only 3 times that I had clients who needed portraits, or whatever you may call it.
interestingly, all of them were book authors. two of them wanted a picture to go on the back of the book along with the bio. the third one wrote a poetry book and wanted some of the photos to go along the poems. so when I received an email from ms robinson, it was a surprise. I asked her a few questions about what she needed the photographs for. she told me that she wanted them for her online profile and she needed some makeover.
so I contacted a makeup artist with whom I had worked before and she agreed. the shoot was planned for saturday and last minute I received news of a cancelation due to an ‘emergeny’. that’s the last thing that you want to hear. I knew of another lady who does wonderful makeup but since I had never used her services before. it was almost like taking another chance.
she had a wedding in the morning that day but pledged that she could be at the studio by 2pm. I agreed but you’re still nervous. you know that, when you have an assignment like a wedding, many things can happen and you run overtime. the client showed up on time but when I called the makeup artist, she told me that she was running late. the lady was very accommodating and said she could wait. she decided to go home and come back. luckily she didn’t live very far.
one hour later, I set them up in corner of the building where they have space and quiet. the woman looked very professional. she had brought her own light with blue filter for daylight calibration. when she finished, I looked at her work and it looked fine. so I asked her if she could wait for me to take a couple of test shots to assess her work.
the lady was a little concerned she looked a little cakey but I reassured her that she would be fine. after I did a few shots, I let her check them on the camera monitor and she was pleased with what she was seeing. so I paid the mua and thanked her for saving the day.
the shoot was straightforward. she had nappy hair cut short, so there not much need for styling except for sheen. flyaway hair wouldn’t also be a concern after the snapshots are taken. she didn’t bring any wardrobe changes. but the orange color of her blouse wasn’t too far off the color of her skin. when you shoot portraits, it’s recommended that props and accessories be kept to a minimum. her earrings were not too distracting.
It was only a matter of talking her into feeling at ease and relaxed. a nice conversation peppered with a few jokes did the trick. after each series of a few shots, pause, then I hand her the camera to take a look. this protocol is very important because while they’re focused on the images, you can scrutinize their face to pick up any hints as to how they feel about the pictures. a nod, a smile. you know that there are some interesting pictures. I shoot at a relentless pace. it helps clients get engaged so they won’t be too contrived. I suggest variations to poses, change angles. do closeups. I also did a few lighting changes to create different moods.
an hour goes fast when you’re having fun! we may have shot over 100 photographs and from how she was smiling while looking at them, I was confident she liked quite a few of them. she paid me cash and I promised to process the images and upload them the same evening. she asked ‘that fast?’ I said ‘yes, that fast!’