Portraits are easy enough to do, but very challenging to do well. The challenge of a portrait is to produce a photograph that will allow a viewer to make an intellectual or emotional connection with the subject. If the viewer learns something about the subject, understands the subject more, or has a desire to know more about the subject, then a good portrait has been produced.

In order to accomplish this, it is important to remember that the subject should provide the direction for the portrait, not the photographer. By this I mean that the photographer cannot impose a preconceived setting, style or technique on the subject without understanding what that individual person is of, about, needs or wants. The more the photographer knows about the subject, the more successful the portrait can be. Sometimes a very tight shot of the face works, sometimes including the subject's environment adds to the portrait, and sometimes the essence of the subject can be captured without the face being the dominant element. I've shot portraits ranging in time from 2 minutes to 10 hours, and there is no set formula for success, but the key components are spontaneity, understand and trust.

All photographs Copyright © Jeffery F. Davis. All rights reserved.



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