I'm not a portrait photographer, but it is one of the genres that I've been studying and practicing. This video by Chris Eyre-Walker reveals the insights of portrait photographer Ashley Joanna and illustrates the essence of portrait photography: the person in the portrait.
All too often, a newbie portrait photographer (myself included) seeks to take a great picture of someone, without considering enough of who that person is. It makes sense once you learn it, but it may not be apparent to the first-time portrait shooter.
Ashley says: "I use my camera as a tool to get to know people." That's what really struck me about this video; she gets to know people first. She points out that she spends 80% of her time talking to the person and 20% of her time taking the image: "It helps me figure out how I'm going to take a picture that captures that originality of who this person is."
Just about anyone with a little photography knowledge can take a good photo of someone, but it takes more than just photography skills to make a portrait stand out and represent who that person is; it requires people skills. Ashley highlights the importance of getting to know the individual and understanding that each person has their own story.
For several weeks, I've been stuck trying to decide on a photography project for this holiday season. This video has helped me decide that I'm going to focus on the beauty of the people around me and not just the beauty of the winter season.
Be sure to check out Ashley's work on her website. Do you have any portrait insights that you would like to share? Let me know in the comments.