Creating a self-portrait is a learning experience for a photographer. There are two key things I was reminded about making this portrait.
First, it is very important that I make sure that I make my clients feel comfortable. Having no one to interact with made it hard for me to relax for the camera. Once you relax, your photographs can begin to show the real you. Music is a great way to set the mood for boudoir and modeling clients, so I tell them to bring their own if they would like. And of course a steady stream of conversation. It doesn’t really matter what you talk about, just something to keep the focus away from posing for the camera.
The second thing I learned was how hard it is to choose a photograph. I went through and selected my ideas and then had my family make their selections. It was interesting to see that they picked different photographs from me. In fact they didn’t really care for my favorite. It showed me how difficult it is for my clients to make decisions, and why they sometimes don’t choose the photos that I believe are some of the best.
Now I have developed some techniques in the studio for choosing the photos. I have had several clients tell me how much easier it makes the choices. Hopefully I will be able to find a way to put this process on-line for my clients.
Every photographer should create a self-portrait every once in a while. It helps to put things back in focus. (yes, cheesy photography pun.)
Recently I had a chance to do a fun boudoir photography shoot where we had access to a bathtub full of bubbles. A tub with bubble bath gives a photographer a chance to have some fun.
This photograph was originally planned to be a traditional color photograph, but every once in a while I will try an alternative treatment on an image to see where it can go. In this case I found black and white to be very effective. Both Monique and I liked the B&W treatment over the color version of this photograph.
Even though I always have the final photograph in mind when I do click the shutter, I find that having an open mind during processing opens the door to some fun and interesting alternatives.
Monique said she liked how much more sexy the Black and White version looked.
With almost everything being in color in photography today, the fine art of a great black and white headshot is slipping away. It seems that photographers are usually reserving it for fine art photographs. Whereas I include it in my glamour and boudoir work, black and white also has a place in portraits and headshots. Particularly when it comes to business portraits, black and white offers a sense of traditionalism and as trends come and go, a black and white headshot is sure to remain timeless without looking out of place among the most trendy business web pages. Headshots like this can bring an air of professionalism and may get you to stand out more from the crowd. Using a Booth for Professional Headshots to get you the right pictures for your portfolio, is a smart choice and will set you apart from those who take it themselves.
The tonality of a black and white image adds a special depth to the images that just can’t be done with a traditional color photograph. It is even more important that the photographer control the light with black and white to create those moods. Photographer Olga Topchii (you can see her work at olgatopchii.com), for example, understands the importance of tonality in her photography. She has black and white images that focus on composition to generate the appropriate mood. Not enough photographers focus on in this day and age. Often many photographers try to boost their colors too much.
Color has become a crutch for some photographers, so worried about the perfect red that they overlook the other key elements to photography. Black and white, with the constraints it poses, forces the use of all a photographer’s skills to get a great image.
Digital photographers have it even tougher. A portrait / headshot shot in black and white digitally does not have the same available range as film. Some of the typical techniques to work around this in landscapes such as HDR, do not work practically with a person whose expression and eyes are key and move just the slightest bit between the frames.
There are other techniques that a skilled digital photographer can use to work around this, but it is a skill that takes time to learn.