Autumn 2.0

As has been previously mentioned in former posts, I’m testing my hand at achieving more professional looking photography. This past weekend proved to be a great kick-off to my hobby self-improvement plan. You’ve already seen some of the best from my shoot with Felicita. As an added bonus, I got in another day of practice with a new model: my friend/co-worker, Erin. Check it out:

For starters, I’ve begun to notice that one of the keys to a good portrait is finding the aspect of the subject that stands out. For Erin, it is by far her eyes. They are stunning, captivating (everything my eyes aren’t. Stupid dominant genes). In nearly every shot of her I took (all 250-ish), Erin’s eyes stood out. And editing them by adding a little contrast or putting them through a cross process effect like in the photo above just made them pop even more. Good, strong features, especially facial features [expressions included], make portraits so much better to look at.

Secondly, a model’s clothing choice looks even more remarkable when placed against the right scenery. In this example, Erin wore a white dress which was paired nicely with sunshine and white wildflowers. The weather on this particular day was perfect: sunshine, 70 degrees, moderate wind. Because of that, a sundress was quite appropriate. And note the flowers in her hair. What a nice added touch.

Thirdly, posing a model is helpful. But a model who has very natural fluid movement on their own (like Erin in the photo above) for the photographer to capture is ten times better. Why? Because you get to see the creative side of the subject rather than the stereotypical rigidity that many portrait photographers have their models emulate. This involves listening to one’s model to find out their personal ideas for shots as well as simply watching how they move and being ready to capture that movement before it’s gone.

Once you take those three components (stunning features, clothing choices paired with scenery, and good poses), you get the following:

The viewer is drawn in by the eyes (and the expression of quiet desperation). The grungy punk band t-shirt is contrasted by the subtle beauty of trees infected by autumn. And Erin is naturally moving her wind-whipped hair out of her face.

I never would have gotten pictures this consistent 3 1/2 years ago when I first embarked on this photographic journey. Soon my photos will be telling stories and capturing the essences of all models involved. And it will all be because of this fall season upgrade. Autumn 2.0…

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