New Zealand D-Photo

ON THE DAY

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With creative portraitur­e, I believe that we need to get the subject to ‘become’ the character we are trying to create. I see the models I work with as actors and actresses and spend time getting them into character; I become a storytelle­r.

You are trying to convince the viewer that the lie is real. An important part of making it real is the connection between the photograph­er and the subject in the image.

While the model gets changed and the make-up and hair are being done, I check the lighting. Set up the lights — if using artificial — and make sure they are all working as you want them to. I usually spend the first 10 to 15 minutes with the model, capturing images mostly as test shots. I find that this allows us to relax, to get over any initial nervousnes­s and see that we are both working towards the same goal.

I then start to create the look I want. If I am using artificial light, I will start with one light and build from there. If using natural light, I might use a reflector or two to move the light to where it needs to be — this is when another set of hands can be helpful. Regardless of the lighting set-up, add a little as you go and check the image in the back of your camera, often. When doing a creative portrait shoot, I use a tripod, as I want to get the sharpest image possible. I check my histogram to ensure that I have the informatio­n in the capture that I need for the digital darkroom. I check sharpness to make sure the scene is sharp where it needs to be, as well as perspectiv­es: if this image is part of a composite, will the angles be correct; is there anything in the scene I don’t want? Then I start to look at finessing the image. Fixing what you can here saves time and effort in post-processing. Take your time. Show the model your pictures as you go; they may have some good feedback. Remember to be encouragin­g.

Most important: have fun. If you and the model are relaxed and having fun, it will come through in the images.

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