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…
Steve McCurry is a famed photojournalist who has travelled the world taking portraits that will go down in photographic history, his portraits have a special look and identity to them. McCurry documents the lives of his subjects, giving the viewer an insight into the lives of the people he photographs.
I first discovered McCurry when I stumbled across his most famous photograph, which is titled ‘Afghan girl’ (shown below). I was immediately taken aback by this stunning image and I was also intrigued to see more his work, as I began to look through his portraits I realised just how talented this photographer is. Alot of the people featured are clearly facing many trials and tribulations within the environment they live, McCurry allows them to share their story with the world!
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!
Sauri is a photographer I have featured on the blog before, I saw an image of his recently on Flickr which in my opinion is one of his best yet. I find it inspiring to see a photographer go from strength to strength in their work. See the stunning composition below,it is a strong photograph in so many ways.
I stumbled across this incredible photoshoot by fashion photographer Michael Angelo di Battista today for Vogue magazine Italy, the model is US R&B singer Alicia Keys. The setting/location is extremely powerful, the lighting is dramatic and there appears to be a strong representation of the personality of Alicia Keys as a recording artist. The photos speak for themselves..
Check out these amazing examples of Bokeh (Out of focus blur) in portrait photographs.
Bokeh is a Japanese word used for the aesthetic quality of blur in photography. Most people when looking at photographs do not neccesarily notice the blur in the photograph, but the blur has a huge effect on the way the photo is perceived by the viewer. For a start, there is no longer any distraction from the intended subject of the photograph, which brings the viewers focus solely on to the subject of the image.
In portrait photography, this is sometimes a crucial element as the focus of the image is obviously the model portrayed, removing the background in effect removes any distraction as well as creating a beautiful visual effect as a bonus.
As you can see in the following images, the Bokeh makes the image slightly more magical.
Ilko Allexandroff is a highly talented portrait photographer you may remember me featuring a while back, he really does create portraits than define beauty! I love the lighting, location and natural elements of his work. Enjoy this interview with the man himself where he shares some of the secrets of his success.
How did you get into photography?
I got into photography after I came to study in Japan in 2008. When i came to Japan I got a small portable camera so I can send photos to my friends back in Bulgaria, and it was very interesting to just snap around. I loved the feeling that by taking a photo I show something I’ve seen to people in a way, that they may have never seen it before.
What inspires you to create the work you do?
There are 3 different things that inspire me to do my photography, first its other photographers amazing work, I can spend hours just watching beautiful photography. Secondly, it’s the feedback I get, if people are happy seeing what I’m doing, that’s a really good feeling for me, and I’m motivated to keep on taking photos. If they criticize me, I’m still motivated to improve. And thirdly, we all see so many beautiful things in our everyday lives, and sometimes I think it’s such a waste not to capture those moments so we can make other people happy by seeing them.
What is the most satisfying part of the photographic process for you?
The most satisfying thing for me in photography is when I see other people enjoying my photos, no matter if it’s the models I’m shooting with, my friends who are viewing my photos or even the client I am shooting for. Often when I am some shooting for work and my client is clearly happy with my work, then I’m really motivated to do more and more, but in order to achieve the best I can I have to work really hard!
What do you aim to capture in your images, are their specific messages in your photography?
The things I aim to capture in my photography are to reveal the personality of the people I’m shooting. So when I photograph somebody especially if it’s the the first time, I try to ask them about their interests, hobbies and possibly try to use the interests/hobbies as part of the photograph. For example if they play some music instrument I might use it in the photo. Every person has own their character and charm.
Do you use any specific techniques in your work? (i.e. HDR, Long exposures)
My photography is mainly based around using off-camera flash lighting. I am trying to experiment a lot and try different lighting techniques. Usually when I upload photos online I try to write a whole description of how I took that particular photograph, plus I recently have enjoyed including some OFF shots and describing the process of shooting. I believe it’s interesting to the viewer to feel the atmosphere of the photo shoot itself.
What are your future ambitions for your photography? Where do you want to go with your work?
Having high ambition is what helps us all to improve more. I also have high ambitions, but the most important thing for me to do…is to be able to please one of the most difficult people in the world to please… myself! The more I’m taking photos the more it’s difficult for me to be satisfied with my own work and sometimes I’m even afraid of my own high standards!
How do you create such stunning portraits? What in your opinion is the key to a successful portrait?
Actually I don’t really feel that I’m creating stunning portraits, but I want to be able to do that one day in the future. Anyway, the most important thing for me when I’m shooting portraiture is the communication with the model. If the model trust’s me and we have good rapport then it’s easy to get a good expression from them. While I’m taking photos you might see me doing so many stupid things to lighten the mood and I would really do ANYTHING to make the people around me have a fun time, that’s why I like photography.
Thank you for taking time out for the interview Ilko, to see more of Ilko’s work simply click on any of the above photographs.
Please click HERE to follow my blog on Facebook, your support is much appreciated!
My second EVER portrait photography shoot was amazing fun! Tori was a really natural model, I was working in a beautiful location (Town of Farnham) and the lighting was great for portrait photography.
I’m still not sure whether it was successful shoot or not (I know I’m definitely not Mario Testino yet!).. but it was nice to come away with, what I felt were some half decent results.. your thoughts/comments are highly welcome!