‘Formal Portraits’ – ‘Margarita’

The Brief: Make portraits of 3 different individual people. Produce close ups, middle distance and full length portraits from each sitting.  You are in absolute control of all elements. As with the preceding ‘environmental’ assignment, we are defining portraits as being photographs of individual people in which the photographer plays the role of active director.  The emphasis is on you to conceive your shoot carefully, plan every element and try to come away with a series of pictures that are true to your artistic objective.
Think about the setting you want to use. We are not interested in the environment surrounding your subject per se but it will pay dividends if you give yourself reconnaissance time in advance of the shoot in order to identify any possible places that you feel would provide strong backdrops or compositional elements to your session.  Sometimes a painted wall, rusty corrugated fence or pair of velvet curtains, for example, will provide you with backdrops that can enhance your portrait.
The subject: Margarita, or ‘Mags’ is a lovely girl who photographs very well, especially under studio lights wearing a brighly coloured Sari she bought for a friends wedding. She has a natural acting ability and was ver easy to direct. We thoroughly enjoyed the shoot.
Thoughts on the process: I used my Bowens lights to make these portraits and the location was a television studio where Mags works as a set designer. I used one light with a beauty-dish attached and the other with an umbrella. The lights were set at roughly 45 degrees to the model to make the most of the brightly coloured objects. Flash was fired through both lights via wireless transmitter. Looking through the photographs later I realised that I could have made a few shots of Mags reflected in the glossy studio floor. Also I would have liked to use some of the very funky TV props that were lying around the studio. Thankfully she is very happy to be shot again so l should be able to achieve this. More from Margarita later!

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