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I just took a trip to the gallery this afternoon and one of the things I like to look at is the portraiture.
I used to have a job where I shot CEO head-shots and environmental portraits. One of the first thing my boss told me was. “Never photograph them above the eye, always below.” Why? Because then the photograph has power over the viewer or the photo appears to be looking down or at the person looking at it.
This holds true of most formal portraiture throughout the ages. Pull out a One Dollar bill and look and see if George is looking at you.
To illustrate this, I did a search for “Famous Portrait Paintings” This is a screenshot. Take a look at how many of them are from the perspective or position just underneath the eye. Usually the ones from above, the subject is not looking at the viewer but away.
Many of these paintings are from the perspective of underneath the eye level. One that comes to attention is Vincent Van Gogh, this is painted from above eye level, looking down on him. To me he seems frail or on guard.
This is a method I like to use when photographing. I like the subject to have power rather than be shown as a submissive.
A few examples from a couple of recent sessions.
It’s after midnight in NYC and that is really all that matters.
I have had many discussions about if you are born with the visual gift or if it can be learned. The reason I bring this up is, because of the digital revolution and photography being so accessible to anyone are the technical aspects of photography as important as they used to be?
My gal is an artist, she was always good a art. Drawing, painting, makeup, hair… She is very visual and is always amazing me with her talent. My sister on the other hand is not so much. She LOVES taking photos though. I might be the photographer but my sis is the chick that clicks. She always has her camera ready to go and because of that I have numerous snapshots of my life. I am not knocking that. I love the snapshot. My sis will see something and recognize that it might be unique, but always says. “I wish you would have been here to photograph that.” Her photo would look like an Ebay image, and she knows it.
My wife on the other hand loves her iPhone. It has a camera with a Polaroid app that she thinks is cute. She likes to take photos only with her iPhone because of the ease of it. Before the iPhone she was not really a picture taker.
First she has a unique way of seeing light and she does these amazing self portraits all the time. She did something the other day that kind of made me step back and ponder the question about knowing the dynamics of photography. What I’m talking about is, exposure and general composition, how to focus, depth of field. All the stuff you learn in photo school.
One of the numerous complaints I hear from professional photographers is: There are to many photographers. LOL. And then the attitude and ego starts to come out. There is always some kid that is making, yes I said MAKING, really great images, and they probably don’t know a aperture from a hole in a board. (photo people will really get this).
So the question is: Are some people just born with the “eye”. And if so, is a camera just a tool for them to show their vision as is a pencil or a paintbrush?
Here are a few photos that my wife shot recently with her iPhone and the “shake it photo” and “tilt shift generator” apps.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
I jump into boudoir and decided to make a magazine to showcase some of the work. First, I don’t love the term boudoir, not sure why but it congers up thoughts of bad 80’s glamour photography. I mean the term means old fashioned dressing room or to pout. Hmmmm. Anyway.
Coquettis – yep a lipstick color or something like that. But it means: a woman who likes to win the attention or admiration of men but does not have serious feelings for them. Love that. LOVE.
It also can mean a coy smile. Now, I realize that the term boudoir is not going anywhere and I can embrace that. I just want to be the rebel I guess.
I had a chance to shoot with Trailer Choir lead singer Crystal Hoyt recently. I decided to do this in the Coquettish style. I think she loved them. It also gave me a chance to work with Celeb stylist Abby Franklin again and best of all, my wife Kristina was able to get away from MAC and do the makeup. I love when I can work with her.
So here are a few images from the shoot in the Coquettish style.
These are from Kristina’s iPhone. Love the iPhone camera.
Hey everyone, here is a tutorial for having a model laying on the ground and using multiple lights.
This image was photographed in a small apartment. A green fuzzy rug was used as the backdrop.
The Ringflash was positioned from the point of view as a main light-source so that the shadow under her nose would be a nice loop/flat just to her right..
The Beauty dish is pointed towards the celling of the apartment providing a nice full coverage of the scene
The 580 is positioned at her feet on the opposite side from the main lights. This is also pointed at the wall providing a slight rim and additional light source to illuminate the bottom of the scene where there was some falloff.
I also was using a medium silver reflector at the base of the shot just for additional added fill.
The main light (beauty dish) was metered at f/13 the Ringflash was metered at f/11 – not much difference but enough to give her face slight definition
The 580 was there to give a little fill to the back side. The jeans were really getting dark without it.
Short video illustration the shoot.
And a bad photo of the billboard in Berlin