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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.
As I mentioned previously, we had the privilege of being invited to Jared's home. And here we're going to take a few minutes reviewing some of the photographs that were made in that environment. This is one of the first pictures that I captured. I was really impressed and surprised by the colors of their home. I love this painting. it was so vibrant and full of life. And I liked it even more as I discovered that each and every family member contributed to making it, and it was a centerpiece of their home. That spoke volumes.
There also was Jared's wife, Nonie, a fascinating person. I want to capture some pictures of her. She was a big part of who Jared is. I also needed to get some of those behind the scene photos of Jared in his element, in his practice space. Those photographs that you can only get when someone is really at ease. Now we also asked Jared and Nonie to play some music, play one of their songs, and they obliged. And they have so much fun playing and making music. It was a treat to get to snap some photographs of that.
Sometimes when you're at a location, you have to remember although you have a subject, it's not all about that person. Sometimes it's about others around them, like this picture about his wife, Nonie. And then, go back to shooting both of them together, capturing what happens, the magic between them as they start to sing songs, play and have fun together. And I like how they look at each other. I like how they worked with each other and I especially liked this last photograph after the song. Now this picture isn't anything special photographically in regards to its composition or anything like that.
You could even call it a snapshot. I would be fine with that. But I just love it! I love the way they're looking at each other. I love the emotion and the connection. Now while I was there, I was trying to capture some of these behind the scenes pictures. I was trying to blend in like a chameleon. And I also knew that later we were going to create some photographs of them as a family. Before I did that, I really wanted to get some individual pictures.
Here Jared, playing his guitar. I like how tight this one is cropped. Another prospective, the second image, a little bit more pulled back. What about converting it to black and white? When you do that, the image becomes much more quiet. Here's that first image in black and white. I think I like this crop better. I like the tighter crop, really getting into that space. Now there were other people in the family that I want to capture as well, like his wife, Nonie. such a vibrant person, so warm, so welcoming.
Here are a couple of pictures of her. Tried to capture a bit of her personality. And then there were the kids. Kids will be kids, and one of the things that I love about family life is so much happens and it's raw and authentic. And at one point, this little guy was upset and I was just in the background capturing it. I also wanted to capture those sweet and tender moments of kids at ease in their space. There were big windows there and I was taking advantage of that, and trying to work within that context, capturing who these little guys are.
And I wanted these individual pictures, because I think you can see someone's personality in a different way by themselves, then when they're with a group. And so I'm seeking to do that. Who are they? Who are they in their own space? I'm also looking for those quiet moments. Those are the moments kind of in-between conversation. That space between the notes. The silence. There's a lot happening in a family. There's so much noise and chaos. But there always are those breaks, those pauses.
How can you capture those with camera in hand? How can you create strong portraits that speak to someone's personality? Now I'm trying to do this for a couple of reasons. I need to get my behind-the-scene photographs, because that's part of the assignment. But another thing that I want to do is connect with each one of these people individually, because I know I have a difficult task ahead of me and that task is to photograph them as a group. And if I've connected with them as an individual, that's going to pave the way for what comes next as I start to work with them as a group.
Well, in the next movie, we'll evaluate the photographs that were captured when I brought all of them together and we photographed them as a family.
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