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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.
So far we have taken a few minutes to talk conceptually about gear. Here I want to do something a little bit different. You know previously we had all the gears set out on that table. Well, what are the essential elements that you really want to bring with you when you're going on a shoot and when you are packing your bags? So here I want to open my bag pack and show you my essential gear items. One of the things that you will notice with this is that my pack is pretty small and I'm just going to bring the absolute essentials.
On this camera body, I have a 50 mm lens. Next I have 70-200 and 85 and 16-35. Well if you ever heard one of those questions where someone says, if you're going to be deserted on an island and could only bring one item what would it be? Well, if I were to apply that say to my essential gear bag and perhaps spin it in a different way and if the question was, if you could only bring three lenses what would they be, well, I think the first lens that I would remove is this one here the 85.
Now the 85 is great for portraits, but I would remove that because I think with these three lenses you can do so much. The 16-35, it allows you to have that wider perspective, tell so much of the story. The 50, it's honest, it's authentic, you can work close. And then you have the drama of the 70-200. Well, if someone came back and said okay, well, you can only bring two lenses, what two would you choose? Well, in this case, I would remove that 16-35 and just work with the honesty of the 50 and the drama or excitement of the 70-200.
If you could only bring one lens, what would it be? Here is where I would part ways with my faithful 70-200. I would be left just with the camera body and this 50 mm lens because I think with this combination, you can really communicate so much. This lens forces you to think and to really approach your subject with creativity. Now all that I am trying to do here is to share with you some of the essential elements in my gear bag. Now what would be essential for you of course is really contingent and dependent upon the type of photographs you want to make and the stories you want to tell.
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