Narrative Portraiture: Foundations of Portraiture
Illustration by John Hersey

Further resources


From:

Narrative Portraiture: Foundations of Portraiture

with Chris Orwig

Video: Further resources

Before we wrap things up, I thought it would be helpful to share with you a few resources that I think will help you grow and develop as a photographer. You know at the photography school where I teach, it's quite common that what we'll do is we'll set books out on a crate rack or on a desk in front of the class. We'll do this to point out a few books that might be helpful resources to help people dig a little bit deeper into who they are and to how they see into the photographs they create. So in this case, I have some books out on this crit rack that have influenced me.

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Watch the Online Video Course Narrative Portraiture: Foundations of Portraiture
1h 44m Beginner May 27, 2011

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In the Narrative Portraiture series, photographer and teacher Chris Orwig explores the use of elements such as location and natural light to create images that tell stories about their subjects and produce a strong emotional connection.

In this first installment, Chris lays the groundwork for the series. The course begins with a discussion of portraiture and the characteristics that make an effective, story-filled portrait. Chris then explains the importance of establishing a connection with a subject and identifying those details that will help tell his or her story. Next, he explores elements such as location, natural lighting, and composition. The course concludes with an exploration of gear: the creative options that various lenses and cameras provide, and techniques for shooting efficiently and unobtrusively.

Topics include:
  • The elements of narrative portraiture
  • Choosing locations and working with natural light
  • Connecting with your subject to better tell a story
  • Composition strategies
  • Choosing lenses and selecting gear for a shoot
  • Camera-handling tips
Subject:
Photography
Author:
Chris Orwig

Further resources

Before we wrap things up, I thought it would be helpful to share with you a few resources that I think will help you grow and develop as a photographer. You know at the photography school where I teach, it's quite common that what we'll do is we'll set books out on a crate rack or on a desk in front of the class. We'll do this to point out a few books that might be helpful resources to help people dig a little bit deeper into who they are and to how they see into the photographs they create. So in this case, I have some books out on this crit rack that have influenced me.

Now there are a few different types of books and I want to highlight a handful of these. For example there is a book which is just an art book on portraiture. One of the things that I found is to get good at Portraiture in photography. We have to look outside of photography. We have to dig deeper into other types of art. Now this is one book among many and the whole point of having it here again is just to get you to think about what other type of art can I look to for inspiration? Now another great place to go is some of the great photographers, for example like Henri Cartier Bresson or Irving Penn or Richard Avedon.

You know sometimes it's fun to explore how they work, like with this book, Avedon at Work or Annie Leibovitz at Work, and sometimes I find and I am equally as inspired from a photographer's pictures, as I am from their words. You know other times it is fun to learn about their life. There are a number of great movies or DVDs out there and this again is representational of movies, I think some of the ones that you want to watch are those about Richard Avedon, about Henri Cartier Bresson, about Annie Leibovitz, and again those are great resources because you get to know someone's work in a different way.

There are some great books here as well, say like this one by Elliott Irwin. His pictures really make me smile. Or the photographs created by Alfred Stieglitz, they are deep, they are strong, they remind me of the importance of that emotional intensity in pictures and there are other types of books here as well, some perhaps a bit more contemporary, some books are little bit more about vision and seeing. And again what happens at least to me is when I read a book sitting in a comfortable chair is I get to know a photographer's work in a different way and that affects me.

Say for example, with this one here by Marc Riboud. It was he who said "Photography is savoring life at 100th of a second" and you know his pictures and those words, they've changed me. You know that idea was something I had internally, but I just didn't know how to articulate it. He gave voice to something that was on the inside of me and ultimately that's shaped how I create pictures and my hope with all of this content really is that, you will began to latch onto it perhaps, perhaps latch onto just one thing.

You know sometimes, when I see a whole stack of books like this, I am a bit overwhelmed. I don't really know where to start. We'll start with just one idea, one book, get to know it, live with it, I think that it will really affect your vision and also ultimately will affect the photographs you create.

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