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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.
Chris Orwig: All right! Well the shoot at our first location in this installment has officially been wrapped up, and in the previous chapters it was fun to reflect back upon the footage and talk about some other things that were going on. Well here in this chapter we're going to take a few minutes to discuss the planning, the preparation that works up towards or that leads up towards creating a successful photo shoot. You can't just stumble onto a location and start taking pictures and hope for the best.
Typically that doesn't turn out very well. There's a lot of planning and a lot of thinking that goes into creating a good, a smooth and successful photo shoot. So what will we talk about? We'll talk about gear, why bring certain types of gear, how to think about that, how to work with that gear, how to work with a location. And then we'll get into this topic which is a little bit debated in the photographic world. It's this whole idea of pre-visualization. Now some people say, you know what, you should show up and just be spontaneous, let everything unfold as it does.
Other people are meticulous about storyboarding and about planning. I think I fall somewhere in the middle. What I find is that I like to storyboard a few shots, because when I arrive at a location, especially a busy location like this, I can easily be overwhelmed by everything that's happening. But by pre-visualizing, storyboarding a few photographs, it gives me a direction. It's give me a few shots to move towards. In a sense it gives me a mental checklist, okay yes, I'm getting that shot, I got that shot, I got that one, great, and then I can experiment within that context.
Well mostly I hope that this chapter will give you a little bit of insight into some of the preparation, some of the thinking, that leads up towards creating a good photo-shoot.
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