I recently was reading an article with suggestions on how to create a great portrait. The focus of the article had nothing to do with creating a technically good photograph. It was focused instead on creating "portraits". Yes, there is a difference.
It definitely is important to know how to create a photograph that is technically pleasing. It should be in focus, properly exposed, has correct color balance, flattering lighting, good composition and a pleasing, non-cluttered background etc etc.
But a portrait goes beyond that. A portrait is much more than just a good photograph. A portrait draws the viewer in, captures a moment and provides a glimpse into the subject's personality. You look at a portrait, and you see a story.
I had the pleasure of taking 2 year pictures for my sister in law. Dear sweet Baby D has never been one to enjoy time in front my camera (LOL!). I guess that crazy big, black box just mystified him and turned me into someone he wasn't quite sure he should trust.
This time, I thought, let's try something a little different. Let's take our time, let's let D be D. No poses, no forced backdrops, no "CHEESE"y smiles. Instead, let's play, let's explore and let's just have fun.
And it worked!
The first 1/2 hour or so, D got quite reserved and unsure as soon as I picked up my camera. So I put down my camera and just chatted with my SIL and let him play. And after a bit, he started to forget about my "black box" and let me take some shots without too much concern. And I even got some honestly sweet SMILES!
I loved so many of these photos. I loved capturing D's expressions as he looked for "fishies" under the bridge.
I got a kick out of watching him find sticks and squeal with joy as he threw them in the creek.
I loved watching him intently study his matchbox cars and then dig them into the dirt.
I thought it was so sweet as he studied Thomas the Train chanting "Cinders and Ashes" over. And over. And over.....(I guess it is a Thomas thing, with only little girls, I am not up on Thomas lingo.)
Here is a sampling of our session. We spent about 2 hrs at the park. And yes, much of the time was spent chatting and letting D do his thing. And here and there I stopped to snap a few moments.
But that turned about to be EXACTLY the perfect recipe for some absolutely adorable photos that (hopefully) lean a bit more towards being a portrait than just a photograph. I see a little boy who is in awe of the world around him. I see a boy who loves fishies and cars and trucks and trains and sticks and DIRT and puddles and, well - LIFE!
I will start with my absolute favorite of the day - LOVE everything about this photo!!!!! Especially the truck and train in his dirty little fist!
Until next time!! XOXO!!!!!