Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Solution: Conceptual portrait, part of 5-Day Photo Challenge: Portraiture.
- Alright, hey, congratulations on making it through this 5 day photography challenge. Now your challenge was to go out and create a conceptual portrait that was based on an idea or a quote. In this movie, I want to show you how I approached this challenge myself. Now my particular photograph started before sunrise. I met my buddy Owen down at one of my favorite beaches and we started to take the ladders off the car and set them at the water's edge. And the concept for my shoot was based on this idea that I once read, that Thomas Burton said this-- now I changed this quote a little bit, but I want to give him the credit.
And the idea is that too often in life, we climb the ladder of success only to get to the top to realize that the ladder is leaning against the wrong tree, or worse, nothing at all. So my image, I want it to be about this man on top of this ladder. And so I had two ideas: one ladder for positioning Owen, my buddy, out in the ocean, almost like he's out there in the middle of the sea on top of this ladder. Then I brought a second ladder that I could put on the beach, in case it was too windy, or there were too many waves. And so what I started to do was to realize that the sunrise was happening.
Now you never really know what a sunrise will be like, if it's going to be dramatic, or subtle, but once that light was getting close, I knew it was the moment to act. So I said, I need to get out there myself and show Owen what I'm about to do. Often you need to do that in portraiture. You need to show the person you're photographing that you would do the same thing that you're asking of them, especially if it means climbing on top of a ladder in an ocean. So I got out there in the ocean, got the ladder up, stood on top, and it was kind of fun to be up there, but also, it was a little bit difficult, because the ladder was moving around, jumped off, and then lost the ladder, found it again, and then of course it was Owen's turn.
So Owen got out there--he was a champ. Owen's a fisherman and a surfer, he's really comfortable in the ocean, so that was an important part of choosing him for this shot. He got up on the ladder, and once I held the camera up to my eye--whoo! It was magic. I mean, it was so exciting to see him up there. Because what happens is, when you look through your lens, you look through your camera, all of a sudden it frames out the rest of the world, and, at least for me everything becomes quiet, and majestic, and the light was streaming through. And I just wanted to shoot this in so many different ways. So I tried shooting it with him in the middle.
I also tried a few different angles, used different lenses. I really wanted to work that magic moment of the sunrise, because the light changes so quickly. Then of course I wanted him to jump off. So we tried a few different jumps, and even a dive, which was a lot of fun. Well after photographing him on the ladder in the ocean, next it was the ladder on the beach. And again, I had this ladder where I dug this hole, buried the ladder, made sure it was secure and strong, climbed up it myself to show Owen a few ideas. We talked about a couple concepts, and then off he went, climbing this ladder.
And again, here, I was trying to create a frame where I have this man on top of this ladder and I tried different angles, and also asked him to use different body positions, hanging off the ladder, standing nice straight and tall, looking off into the distance. Because sometimes when you're trying to illustrate a concept, you never know if you're going to get it. Sometimes, you'll be too obvious, and the image will feel trite, and so I like to kind of experiment to find that subtle or that sweet spot. Alright, well that's how I tried to accomplish this challenge. I hope that you found these challenges to be interesting and engaging, and as always, if you feel like your results weren't great the first time, try these challenges again, and then be sure to post all your photographs using that hashtag, that's 5 day photo.
And if you want to learn more about how to process all these images that you've captured, you can check out some of my other courses on the topics of light room, camera, and Photoshop. Well again, thanks for joining me in this course. I look forward to seeing you in another one. Bye for now.
Remember to share your results on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #5DayPhoto.