Well, I finally decided to switch it up a bit today. So this time, I’m sharing with you all some portrait shots of my lovely model and friend, Shelby. Awhile back, we went to National Harbor and took shots within the Gaylord Hotel. For the longest time, I’ve been working on photos I took in Kyoto. But I think we can all get a little fatigued working on the same thing. So I decided to work on these to mix things up.
I’m not sure how many can tell, but I tend to gravitate towards architecture photography. I find it easier for some reason. It’s just more natural for me to capture things around me, versus pose people around said things. However, I still love working with models. And it’s been a goal of mine to get better at portrait photography. So on occasion, I’ll reach out to a friend (like Shelby) and we’ll drive some place and I’ll work with them as my model.
I took my first photography class back in college and it was an old school, develop black and white film in a dark room type of class. But it was also around that time that I discovered the power of Lightroom and how it really has become the digital version of the dark room. Since then, I’ve been working to refine my skills with the program, manipulating lighting to the smallest degrees to get the effect that I want.
Some of my style I believe directly comes from my love of cosplay photography. But with this session, from the photoshoot to the export, I really wanted to create images that worked well as professional portraits. In this way, my goal was to give Shelby finished results that she could give her parents as gifts. So not as contrast-y as I might go for a cosplay shoot. But still rich, vibrant, and detailed, yet soft.
Shelby makes it really easy for me, I have to admit. (She’s so pretty! It’s hard to get a bad shot of her!) Through out the shoot, the most I had to do was get her to smile – which mostly consisted of me complimenting her. But in all seriousness, Shelby was great because she listened to direction well and that allowed me to focus on exposure and focus.
I tend to leave my camera at a higher ISO setting to capture as much detail as possible. This allows me to concentrate on exposure and focus. With architecture I tend to go for a much wider field of focus. But I tend to narrow that focus when it comes to people. This way, the model is crisp and the place around them is a little blurry. This draws the eye in nicely. But there are definitely occasions when I break this rule – particularly at National Harbor. Everything is so pretty there!
It’s interesting to see what effects end up doing what. While I think a go-to for me is burning and dodging because I learned to do primarily in my black and white class, I also enjoy learning how luminance and saturation can be used to bring out colors in a natural, but crisp manner.
Long term goals for me with photography include continuing to do more portraits (and cosplay photoshoots). I was a film major and I’m a comic book lover, so I’d really like to do something such as using photography to “create a comic”, possibly similar to a Webtoon style. Would be an interesting exercise and endeavor.
Regarding this shoot though, I was really pleased with the outcome. As someone who loves photography and travel, I always have ‘big plans’ in my mind for shoots and shots. But sometimes it’s just nice to get out there and do something local, particularly with someone so easy to work with. Practice, no matter the kind, is good, as it forces you to flex those muscles and hone your skills.
Many thanks to you Shelby – I hope you (and everyone reading) enjoys these shots! And if you want to see more of my work, all of my photography can be see in my Photography Gallery.