Photographing portraits is what I have been doing most my time as a professional photographer. I started working in Fovea Skolefoto as a school portrait photographer also photographing kids in kinder garden all across the country. For two seasons I have been doing the same type of photography for a Trondheim based business called Iris Skolefoto. All this time I’ve doing portraits haven’t helped me gained technical experience, but rather experience communicating with the people I have been photographing. Learning different persuasion techniques for getting the facial expressions that I wanted to get, mostly smiling. You meet a lot of different people on the road, from the ones who are so shy wishing for a lightning to strike to those who can’t wait till it is their turn in front of the camera.
As you might have figured out, this is also a photo, a portrait, I shot during my years at Norsk Fotofagskole. This time the assignment was to make a CD-cover for a real or fictional band. And realistic enough, that is some of the projects I am working on today. The band I shot is called Hell Is Repetition. What my plan was was to photograph both portraits and some shots of the band together, the usual stuff you see.
A huge inspiration source for me and this particular shot was Richard Avedon, who you can read more about on his web page www.richardavedon.com. One of his techniques on photographing portraits was to have a big white sheet hung up in the shade and photograph them as they were right in front of it. This gave you plain, white backdrop which gave the subject the entire focus. Much like you see in family portraits and such today. I decided to go for this technique, bought a huge bed sheet and stretched it between two light stands and shot six portraits, two of each band member.
Inspiration is a good source for great ideas. Find some favorite photographers, try to make out what appeals to you in their work and try to replicate. Don’t do a blueprint of what they are doing but add some personal touches. My Richard Avedon-setup was quite cheap, you don’t really need light stands, but you can always tape the bed sheet to the wall.