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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: At this point in the shoot I am content. I feel like we've captured a number of great images or at least I hope so. And a lot of times at that moment we say, you know what, that's a wrap, that's it. Well I like to push things a little bit further. I like to finish on perhaps an even better note. Sometimes in those moments I think it's fun to just play a little bit, so I brought in this apple. Now why an apple? Well here we were in New York City, the Big Apple.
I know that's a cliche. But it is interesting to play with cliches. It's also dangerous, because cliches often become trite and empty photographs, but nonetheless why not at least try? I mean, we've covered all of our bases, why not have a little bit of fun? And even more than that I think it's great to kind of end on this high note. The last thing that has to happen is we have to retrace our steps across the bridge. Now in the morning we came across the bridge from the Brooklyn side and the construction area was all in the shadows.
Well now there was a lot of interesting light in that location, so I thought it would be worthwhile not only just to walk back with Jared to walk back to his car, but also to shoot while we traveled back. And a lot of times I like to do that, because what you can do is separate yourself from the shoot so to speak and kind of travel or walk back to wherever someone needs to go, snap a few pictures along the way, and sometimes those photographs can be really interesting, because at that point the shoot has been wrapped, it's done, you've had a little bit of fun and it's all just winding down.
People are at ease and sometimes when someone's at ease, you can capture some of the best aspects of who they are.
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