Whidbey Island Portrait Photographer

Today I gave my photo students an assignment that is very near and dear to my heart. They are going to take a portrait. I realized while talking to my students that there are a lot of criteria that goes into a portrait to help make it a success.

Some of my criteria was the portrait needed to be waist and up, the model needed to be somewhat serious, meaning no silly faces. Portraits could not be of animals however animals could be included. Students needed to be aware of what the background was also. This criteria came about because one of my students is very spontaneous, she doesn’t think too much about whether it’s a good image and is more concerned with taking a picture that meets the requirements. We have one student who is a willing and great model. Student 1 went to take student 2s picture and was rushing it, not paying a lick of attention to what was happening around her model. I quickly realized I was in this picture, thus making it not a successful portrait.

Portraiture is not easy. Pictures of people make it look painfully easy. I have a student, my only male student who quickly dismissed the creativity and talent that goes into making a portrait. When I showed him examples he was quick to say it was easy and that all my model was doing was sitting in grass. Later in class I was showing more examples and explaining that photographing a girl was much easier than photographing a guy. I gave them an example pose that is socially acceptable for a girl but not a guy. Our only male student refused to do the pose for us. This is another issue with taking good portraits. Depending on how your model identifies themselves you may be limited by what poses you can use.

I’m super excited to hear how hard or easy the portraits they take were for them. Things always look easy and you can make them sound easy in your mind but when you come down to doing the assignment things change. It can be awkward asking someone to pose for you. The model you chose may turn out to not be as photogenic as you thought they would be. The other thing is sometimes it takes a little bit of time before you get a winner. Once everyone left class and I let it all sink in I realized that I too have to take a portrait. I always try and do the assignment with my students. Suddenly I am feeling the pressure and I am trying to figure out how I will get this assignment done!

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