If you are into portraiture, you know that capturing personality of your subject is an exciting challenge. You can create a wonderful composition with some gorgeous lighting, however catching a powerful emotion can make a huge difference to the photo.
I love portraiture and I really enjoy experimenting and taking portraits of my kids. I get my inspiration from studying work of famous artists and photographers, such as Johannes Vermeer, Dorothea Lange, Steve McCurry, and many others.
So, how do I elicit these emotions and connect with my children to create emotive portraits?
1. Before inviting my kids I make sure I have my camera, lighting and background set. Generally I shoot close to a large window or an open door which provides a beautiful light.
2. I always use clean and simple backgrounds and try to eliminate all the distractions. Any blank wall is a good fit for me. I generally place my kids a few feet away from the wall to create that lovely soft background effect.
3. This is absolutely a collaborative process, I make sure my kids feel good about themselves, I encourage them to keep having "fun", because tension is not my friend. And no matter how many times they have been in front of my camera, each one is a new experience and needs to be directed as such. One of the good tricks I use is I get them talking about their meaningful moments in their lives, would it be at school or something about their friends, new achievements or even expectations and lost opportunities to elicit some emotions of sadness, drama. The more time I spend talking with them, the more they open up, the more shots I get to capture these emotions.
I pay a very special attention to their eyes, they help me to see when they experience something and feel an emotion. It could be a powerful gaze into the camera or a fleeting glance away from the camera when they recall a story. That split second is when I take the shot and many shots!