This past quarter I have taken thousands of portraits of individuals that come from all walks of life. Wether I am photographing the NBA's All-time leading scorer, a consultant, a scientist, a chief executive, or a local golf pro, it all comes down to making them comfortable, getting to know them a little bit, and getting a photograph that truly reflects who they are.
The majority of my business is portraiture. I love the fact that I get to meet people from all walks of life, in different settings and all of them with their unique personality
My challenge and greatest enjoyment is to get to know each individual and get a glimpse into their personality and hopefully capture it in an image that reflects who they are.
Below are samples of a few of the people I have photographed over the last few months. The are aspiring actresses and models, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, high powered lawyers, and even the Penn State Nittany Lion.
I had the opportunity to meet and photograph David Brooks yesterday at the NAFSA Conference in Denver, CO. David was a pleasure to work with and and an excellent speaker. He is one of the best that I have heard at the NAFSA conferences.
David is a columnist for the New York Times, a senior fellow at Yale, and he can be seen frequently on NBC's Meet the Press and on PBS NewsHour.
I am definitely going to buy a copy of his new book "The Road to Character" and read it on my flight back to Washington, DC on Saturday.
Shooting portraits is always fun. As a photographer you show up having never met the person, possibly never seen the location before, and within a short time period you must pick the best location, setup the lighting, and develop a rapport with the person you are photographing.
I wish I had a dime for every client who tells me that they don't like having their picture taken. Fortunately, most of my clients are very interesting and accomplished individuals and it is very easy to strike up a conversation, and before they know it the photo shoot is over and we have some great portraits that capture their personality ... and we had a fun chat while doing it.
The best part of portrait photography is that you get to meet so many different people from all different walks of life. Over the last three months since my last blog post I have had the opportunity to meet executives from a large biotech/pharmaceutical corporation, financial planners/advisors from some of the most prestigious investment firms, the president of a local bank, the SVP of a large application software company, consultants ... and many more.
I have discussions ranging from curing cancer to what are the best places in ski out west. And in terms of locations we have been in conference rooms, lobbies, alley ways, hallways, staircases, decks, you name it ... whatever it takes to get the best photograph.
The environmental photographs below were taken in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Northern VA over the last few months.
All of the environmental portraits below were shot in different buildings / settings. Some were photographed outside, some were in lobbies, and one was photographed on a stairway. The stairway shot was fun because I photographed him walking down the staircase to get a more natural smile and body posture.
When I take an environmental portrait, it is ussually photographed in the subject's normal environment, such as in their home or workplace, and typically illuminates the subject's life and surroundings.
By photographing a person in their natural surroundings, I am able to better illuminate their character, and therefore portray the essence of their personality, rather than merely a likeness of their physical features. By photographing a person in their natural surroundings, the subject will be more at ease, and so be more conducive to expressing themselves, as opposed to in a studio.
The following is a very small sample of the some environmental portraits that I have taken over the past few months.
I always enjoy doing portraits / headshots. Each session is unique because every person who I photograph is unique. Getting their personality to show in their photograph is what makes portrait photography so interesting. Sometimes it is easy, other times it takes a bit more effort to get my client to relax and be themselves.
I had the opportunity to photograph another cover photo shoot for Scholar Magazine, Strayer University's alumni magazine. This assignment took us to Cleveland, OH in the dead of winter. Cleveland was hit by a big snow storm the day we were traveling. Most flights into Cleveland's airport were being diverted away, but for some reason our plane was allowed to land! The cab ride to the hotel was very interesting, the cab driver kept apologizing for not going faster on the snow covered roads because the other drivers were going too slow. I kept assuring her I was in no hurry.
The next morning it was about 5 degrees outside, so we were not likely to take any photographs outside. Fortunately, the Cleveland Clinic's campus is quite large and provided a lot of interesting walkways, stairways, and lobbies to do some great editorial photographs.
When taking environmental photographs I try use the client's office / work environment to tell something about what they do for a living, or use architectural elements of their work environment to add to the interest of the photograph. In two of the photographs below I used the dental office lights and equipment to enhance the photographs that I took at a local dental office. In the case of office professionals we used their lobby's lights and lines to give some interest to the photographs.