10 steps to shooting a portrait, the experience of Elena Lucan
1. The need to shoot new
Every day I think about how I shoot, what I shoot, and especially about how I haven’t shot yet.
I am inspired by artists, photographers, directors who influenced visual art in general. I watch their work, read the biography and when something catches me, I stop and want to repeat.
Of course, I like the image that needs to be decoded, deciphered, when the question arises: how to take it? Then the task appears by itself – to eliminate gaps in the technique and methods of shooting.
There is a burning need to shoot as I do not know, shoot otherwise. And then I start looking for a model.
2. Model selection
Choosing a model for a portrait
Based on experience and exclusively in my opinion, 80% of shooting success depends on the person who is in the frame.
That is, no matter how hard you try, if a person finds it difficult to work in front of the camera, if he does not feel his body, or cannot accept himself due to certain reasons, it will be a failure.
I look for people in social networks using profile pictures. On the page in the network you can already say a lot about the person. Does he have a taste, charisma, what is his opinion. These are important triggers for future work with a person.
If I like a person, I see potential in him, then by all means I write him a message with a proposal to make a creative shooting. Immediately in the message I attach several references, and when a person agrees, we begin to work.
Sometimes I see an interesting person, but now there is no concept for his type, then I add him to my bookmarks so as not to lose. So gradually collect the base of those whom I want to shoot.
Thus, I work with people who I like, who are interesting to me.
3. Search for ideas
The concept of shooting is rarely born immediately. It is always a process. Most likely, it appears based on the sensation from the person who will be in the frame.
There is always a preliminary outline of what you will do, what new techniques to use. The process of searching for ideas is setting tasks and finding their correlation with the image of the model.
My main profile is a male portrait. Therefore, in my female portraits there is no tenderness, lightness and fayn-art. I am more close to the dramatic and thoughtful image of a deep man.
My choice is Lindberg, if about women.
4. About inspiration
Studying interesting photographers, directors, artists, you can find a lot of inspiration.
Competent stylish deep portraits, modern works of photographers provide various resources. For myself, I note Pinterest, instagram, thematic groups in social networks.
It is very useful to watch a movie. Plots, light, storyboard, look at how the camera moves from frame to frame, why there is such a color, light, emotion of an actor, disassemble what you see into atoms.
There are no random elements in the films. Keep this in mind when once again you begin to view a unique picture. Stop, take screenshots, make out what you like and don’t like. Try to repeat.
5. Selection of image and style
The next message of the model, after the proposal to become a subject, is “what do you have on clothes?”
I ask a person to send me pictures of your wardrobe. Then I show what I need, the image and style, as I see it. I show the mudboard I collected. Basically, I choose clothes that are multi-layered and monophonic, with a good texture, matte. If a person does not have suitable clothes, we look for them from friends, or buy them in a store, return them the next day, without taking off the tag and using it very carefully.
I always pick up a couple of images for shooting, so that you can mix the style and drastically change in the frame. So shooting looks more multifaceted and rich.
Steep shots are made of cool parts.
An important aspect here – accessories: bracelets, scarves, pendants, hats, watches.
They can also be played in the frame, they are excellent triggers.
6. Preparation for shooting
Directly, the preparation for shooting in me consists of the preparation of equipment, modifiers (reflector), various photo accessories (glass, film, mesh).
The first thing I do is make sure the batteries are charged. If it is not, charge.
Then check the camera functionality. And looking through the SD card. Be sure to format them.
Once again I look, whether all accessories available.
I remove the mudboard on the phone. I make a storyboard if the shooting is complicated. When everything is ready, we move to the place of shooting.
7. Shooting. Location Shine.
Almost always the location for me is a surprise. Five or ten minutes, I look around and immediately see where there are interesting places around the world, composition and geometry.
I build the model, the space and see how much I like everything, I make shots, then I change the angle, posture, place.
Try to keep the model always busy and there are no pauses in which the person does not know what to do. Out of ideas, inspiration – change the place, posture, clothes, remove details in close-up. Look at the references.
Natural light can give you everything you need. It is dense and as voluminous as possible.