I thought I would share with you today some recent portrait shots of mine, I’m still learning the hard way and enjoying the learning process. All of my shoots have solely consisted of natural light up to now, but I have recently acquired a flash (Nikon SB700) though so I am looking forward to taking control of my lighting!
Let me know what you think, all comments are welcome…
This is a recent photo shoot of worldwide famous R&B/Pop Singer Beyonce Knowles by fashion photographer Michelangelo di Battista for InStyle magazine, I have made quite a few features regarding di Battista now on the blog. He is quickly becoming one of my favourite photographers in the industry, his work fills me with inspiration.
His photography is atmospheric, deep in colour and mood whilst representing his subjects/models in a very natural and relaxed fashion. His skill in perfecting dramatic lighting set ups is equally effective!
I came across this incredible shot today by fashion/portrait photographer Michelangelo di Battista, this is from his shoot of famed singer Gwen Stefani. This shot is so incredible in every aspect, the sense of drama and atmosphere is intense creating great impact. This is without even mentioning, the stunning composition and lighting of this photograph.
The bokeh to the right of the image is smooth and beautiful allowing the sharpness of the left side of the image to stand out just that bit more.
It has been awhile since I carried out my last portrait photography shoot, so I was really pleased to organise another one. This time round the model was a girl named Lily and the town of Haslemere was the location.
The conditions were certainly very different to the previous shoot, the previous shoot was a typically overcast England day with showers. This time round, it felt like the first day of Summer all over again. (due to the fact, we have had another terrible summer in grey England!) The sunshine though sadly causes other issues in portrait photography, the main ones being harsh lighting, harsh shadows and high contrast situations. I enjoyed the challenge though of working with the conditions. Afterall, the best photographers can produce amazing photographs in every situation.
I still need to vastly improve my portrait photography skills, but I am really enjoying the learning process.
Billy Pham is an up and coming fashion/portrait photographer from the USA, his work has been causing quite a stir on Flickr and he really has an eye for creating beautiful portraits using mainly natural lighting. Enjoy some more samples of photography from this up and coming talent! The portraits showcased here have an amazingly natural feel to them, his work has been featured before on the blog and I’m sure it will be featured again, so stay tuned!
As you may of noticed, Mario Testino is a photographer who has been heavily featured on the blog before. This is for two reasons really.. 1- Testino is one of the best fashion photographers in the world today 2- he is a huge inspiration to me.
Testino has recently carried out a photoshoot with movie star actress Emma Watson for Vogue Magazine. The shoot highlights his unique abilities as a photographer once more, he always has a knack of creating atmosphere in his photos whilst creating pure beauty at the same time. Enjoy this fantastic set.
I have featured the extraordinary work of street photographer B.Image twice on the blog now and I am glad to bring you an interview directly from the man himself! Enjoy this insight into the work and life of this inspiring photographer.
How did you get into photography?
My interest in photography started during my school days when I did some portraits and street photography with a semi-automatic camera (it wasn’t my machine though). But it stopped for a good number of years because there wasn’t anyone to share this interest with. A handful of my colleagues who took up photography shared their skills and it was one of them who introduced me to flickr back in the year 2009. My interest for photography came back and shortly after that, I got my first camera, the Nikon D90.
What inspires you to create the work you do?
The people. Lives of people. To document where they have been to and what they were doing, the attire they were wearing on that particular day at that very second through my lens. “This is you. You were there, on this street and a street portrait of you was taken.” And when they look back (hopefully), they will remember that this event has happened in their lives and they are part of the street portraits series.
What is the most satisfying part of the photographic process for you?
The moment when I know that I’ve got the shot.
What do you aim to capture in your images, are their specific messages in your photography?
Nothing pretentious. Every street portrait that was taken portrays the stranger in his or her natural state/emotion. “Be yourself, be natural”.
Do you use any specific techniques in your work? (i.e. HDR, Long exposures)
There are not any special techniques. It’s the usual aperture priority or manual. I wouldn’t want to hold the stranger up for more than one minute.
What are your future ambitions for your photography? Where do you want to go with your work?
Portraiture photography is one area that I will continue to pursue, especially street portraits because there is no end to it. I have been doing this in Singapore, some in Malaysia and a good handful in Bangkok. I do have plans to visit other places to keep the street portraits evolving.
I see you mainly focus on ordinary people on the street in your photography and you clearly have great people skills. How do you approach people you wish to photograph? How do you help them to relax in front of the camera?
A lot of people have asked me this question from time to time. This is what I do…
I walk a lot on the street. Yes a lot, from one spot to another and sometimes I will go to another location within the day if I have too. I stop by at different areas for breaks while still paying attention to the people. I observe the things that they do, be it reading something, talking on their mobile phone, texting, hanging out with friends, walking alone, how and the way they walk and at what pace. I observe the behavior, personality, aura and body language. Now that I’m doing street fashion, I will have to observe the attire as well. Yes, there are lots of factors that need to be taken into consideration before I step up to ask for a portrait. I can’t ask for everything, but I will be selective to choose the appropriate person at the proper time without invading their privacy on the street.
“Excuse me, can I take a picture?” When I ask, I look in the eyes of the stranger and smile at the same time while holding my camera in front of me. As you can see, three things are during the few seconds when I present my request. Looking in the eyes shows your sincerity, smiling makes the people feel at ease (people love a smiling photographer, this is very true!) and holding the camera in front of you allow’s the person to identity your interest immediately.
Do people question my motive? Yes they do, most of them do. And I have spent a long time thinking about how to convey my request across to the person in the shortest and most effective manner, to strike curiosity and make them want to be part of my street portraits collection. I also have to make sure that I do not fumble when I’m asked about the purpose of my image making process. I still remember back in the days when I started my “Street Portraits 365 Days”, I’ve used various opening lines and trying to explain my purpose behind the project. While I may have some success, I wasn’t too happy with my lines. But the idea became more apparent as I step out for more street portraits every weekend, and finally, I found my magic word.
It is almost impossible to get the people to feel relaxed in front of the lens if you are feeling tense behind your camera. I tell them what I want, to have them relate to my emotion and express it on their own. A little connection is all it takes to earn that trust between you and the intended person whom you approached. At the end of the day, they get the picture, I get, The Shot!
Thank you for very much for taking time out for the interview, Boong.
To see more of B.Images work, visit his Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/b-image357/.
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I made a new discovery today, I discovered the brilliant work of Fashion photographer Yu Tsai. Enjoy this stunning photoshoot of movie superstar Keira Knightley from Flaunt magazine, the focus of this shoot was not just on Knightley but the unique setting aswell. The composition, poses and dramatic colour are amazing.
Due to the prolific rise of the internet and people buying less magazines, budgets for fashion shoots have become less and less. This brings up an interesting question ‘What is the future of fashion photography?’, it appears perhaps the future of the finely constructed fashion magazine photoshoot may be potentially under threat. But with change, comes opportunity and fashion photography will continue to exist in one form or another. People will continue to purchase fashion/clothing and of course imagery plays a huge part in exhibiting/advertising changing fashion trends to the public, designers are likely to continue using photography or videos to advertise their new fashion lines.
‘How will fashion photography exist in the future?’ appears to be the real question, this at the moment is an open question. But the following article published last year in the Irish Times, gives a very interesting insight in to how the future of fashion photography may turn out. It appear’s that some of the new up and coming fashion photographers (i.e. Garance Dore) are defining a new style of photography, Street Fashion photography. This appears to be a more reality based style of fashion photography, much of todays fashion imagery is heavily photoshopped and expensively constructed. It will be interesting to see if this new budget conscious and reality based style of photography becomes the new norm in the world of fashion as editorial budgets continue to be cut back.
Personally I hope that the current form of glossy mag fashion photography continues to exist as I feel this form of photography has a special place, but it will be interesting to see how this creative and new style of Street fashion photography progresses as I believe it could be equally effective. Check out the link below-
A great image from photographer Garance Dore for Elle Magazine below-
Fashion photographer Michelangelo di Battista is a new photography discovery I have made today, I have not seen any of his work previously but I will be making sure I keep track of his work from this point onwards. This outstanding photoshoot of the beautiful Hollywood actress Jessica Alba for Vogue Italy really highlights his photographic talents. The understated colours, Alba’s natural poses, the retrospective setting and most importantly the atmospheric lighting all mix together to create some truly memorable imagery.