I was very pleased this month to be commissioned by Southbank BID, (Southbank Employment group) to photograph all their new company profile portraits and team shots.
I understood the brief that the portraits were to convey both professionalism and warm approachability. A friendly group of people that are focused on contributing to the regeneration of positive use of the surrounding public realm for visitors, businesses and local residents and therefore needed a softer look. I decided against the traditional corporate portrait shot with a bright plain white backdrop and went for the softer subtle interior look, still keeping it uncluttered but featuring posters commissioned by Southbank BID’s marketing team in the background and a natural feel to the lighting.
The skill to photographing portraits of people not use to their picture being taken is beyond the technical aspects of handling camera and lighting. It is firstly the ability to communicate warmly and relaxed, putting them at easy and actually making it fun. It always puts a smile on my face when editing images later to see the laughter in the ones that do not make the final cut, as they look like they are having far too much fun! It is the hardess thing to capture that fleeting subtle smile across the eyes and in the corners of the mouth. Once achieved my feelings soar high that I captured it in camera.
Another essential ability of a portrait photographer is to find, but not force a pose from the subject that communicates to the viewer, and recognise different poses suit different personalities and body types. After 21 staff portraits it was an achievement that day that every one of them found their best side : – )
Capturing the pose in portraiture is all about the eyes, arms, shoulders and the hands… the most important aspects that reflect a lot of what is going on inside.
I enjoy people – meeting new and interesting charactors to photograph, and look forward to all those I am yet to meet and photograph.
Another year I get to spend a fun morning meeting and shoot the portraits of some interior designer talent of the future at The Interior Design school founded by Iris Dunbar, (Director) http://idschool.co.uk
Each student gets to select a designer chair that they would like to sit in and my part is to photograph a relaxed, approachable yet professional portrait that will introduce them to the interior design community from the launch of their end-of-year show right on through to their first commissioned post and beyond.
It is amazing we get all 15 or so portraits wrapped up by lunch and everyone feels like it was a whole lot more of a fun experience than they were expecting. As a portrait photographer I always tell my students that once the bells and whistles on their camera and lighting is learnt to level of second nature, the true skill of Portrait Photography is the communication with the subject and being able to read what shape/pose suits them best. There is not one posture suits all. We come in all different shapes and sizes and there is always a great pose for us all. Some subjects are a challenge, that find it hard to relax and not be self conscious, but after a bit of my irish banter I manage to bring out a moment just right for the shot. Above, Interior design student Anya was the opposite and a natural in front of the camera… finally selecting the image top left as her profile image.
I am very much looking forward to meeting all the present year students and tutors again and looking at the work at The Interior Design school’s end of year show early summer 2016. I will also be sharing how I took these shots and more on my up coming ‘Portrait Photography: Studio & location‘ course @MorleyCollege starting on 11th April this year:
Come and join me for my one-off, pop up children’s studio event on 19 February 2012. Less than 2 weeks to go. Just pop by on the day, or book in advance and receive one free 5×7 print from the shoot. No usual studio booking fee, only pay for the prints and files that you want after viewing the on-line gallery for the event. Beautiful Portraits lit with professional studio lights. I look forward to hearing from you.
Great gifts for Mother’s day. The images will be up online for you to order in time for Mother’s day. There will also be early bird discounts on print orders placed in first 10 days. Examples of prices are 5×7 £12, or £10 early bird. The venue is located very close to Kensal Green tube station, zone 2, London.
What a lovely surprise when I opened an email this week from the mother of a bride that I photographed getting married at Islington Town Hall. Always great to get good feedback and to share it. Here is what Beverly kindly had to say… ‘My all time favorite is Kathryn helping Sophia with her bouquet and Florence is holding onto her dress. The light is amazing. You have caught a precious moment. Many who have seen it come out with the comment that it looks like a fashion shoot. You have this combination of very personal and the wow factor’. (Beverly Lane, mother of the bride).