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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 installment of the series, Chris shows how to incorporate aspects of a location, such as architecture, natural light, and even passersby, to create authentic, story-filled portraits.
The course begins with a photo shoot on the Brooklyn Bridge. Chris emphasizes the importance of directing and collaborating with a subject and of being responsive to changing lighting and location conditions. After the shoot, Chris discusses the preparation that goes into on-location shoots, from choosing camera gear to storyboarding. Next, he reviews the images from the shoot and mentions the post-processing techniques that he employed to make them more effective. The course also includes several assignments aimed at reinforcing the concepts Chris describes.
The course concludes with an on-location family portrait shoot and a look at the special considerations that go into group shots.
Jared is a super cool guy and I am excited about this. So, before any photo shoot, there is a lot of anticipation and excitement and then there is that initial meet and greet. And that's all about that good connection. You want that firm handshake, the eye contact, and you want to kind of play off that excitement. Well, at some point, I knew that I needed to transition out of that, but before I got to that transition, I wanted to ask him some questions.
To give him questions that are easy to answer, build that momentum. Chris Orwig: I mean, what's a day in the life look like, maybe as a question? Jared Mason: Well, it depends. Get up about 6, maybe squeeze in a quick little yoga session. Chris Orwig: And the whole time as we were walking, I'm also thinking that eventually, I need to turn and face him. I need to cross that invisible awkward threshold of taking the first picture. And you know what, there is a good-- Actually, yeah, right here, there is a good photograph out here. So, you get into school.
What I've found is that the longer that you wait to take the first photograph, the harder it is to actually take. It's almost like you're standing on top of that high dive, staring down at the swimming pool below. It's 20 feet down. The longer you stand, the harder it is to jump. Now, a couple of ways that you can get to that first image more quickly, more easily, more fluidly is to have your camera out of its bag. That is hands-down essential, so important.
So, when you meet someone, you have a camera with you and then that's arty part of this relationship, this moment. Now, once you have made that first photograph, you've broken the ice. The shoot is really starting and that's really when the momentum begins. Jared Mason: Times Square. Chris Orwig: Yeah? Jared Mason: And they live right in the middle, or I mean they go to school right in the middle. Chris Orwig: Okay. Jared Mason: Wonderful school. They love school, so we love the school. And then we have been having a lot of company lately. Chris Orwig: The other thing I am thinking of myself is this may not be the best photograph and I'm okay with that.
But in many ways, it's one of the most important photographs. It sets the tone, it begins the shoot. It's not important that you capture amazing images the entire time but rather that you make your way through this, and eventually, when you get to those good photographs. So again breaking the ice, taking that first photograph, was all part of that.
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