Custom Portraiture Workshop

I'd worked with Damo once before when I helped him out with a shoot that he did with Anne Duffy. We had a great and rewarding afternoon that day - read about
it back here
. Damo was keen to further explore his portrait photography and obtain something a little deeper and more natural than what he'd been getting.

So this was essentially and 'Emotive Portraiture Workshop' - these are custom designed (and usually one on one) to suit the Client as they are very specific in order to tick off all the outcomes for each individual person. Damo's a great photographer. I asked to see his images from the day out with Anne. I looked at them and asked, "what can I teach you? You've done what you wanted to do right there". The images he showed me were excellent, they had all the qualities of great portraits, they captured presence, poise, beauty and personality aspects of Anne that only a stills camera in skilled hands can capture. His answer was "yes but I know Anne and she knows me, we have a great rapport so it's easy". Essentially he wanted to be able to do what he did with Anne - with any model. One of the key statements he made to me during my questions prior to working out the content of the workshop was, "my photos tend to end up looking like model posing 101".

So I engaged Flavia as the model for this. Flavia has an incredibly natural presence in front of the camera and doesn't go into auto pilot as far as posing goes. She moves and emotes according to what you want to do. But you have to communicate and connect with her so she knows what is required of course. In the end, a photoshoot is in the hands of the photographer - so there are decisions to make and there is control required. That sounds heavy, I hate directing and my style of directing is more like not directing at all!

So we would shoot near Flavia's place on the Northern beaches of Sydney. Just before the workshop I quickly scoped a place I went to years back to shoot seascapes but it was blowing a gale and showers were coming through. Not on. The other side of the headland looked OK and was out of the wind a bit.

So we met at Flavia's flat, got acquainted, had a chat, then headed down to the location. Weather was not good, but at least it had atmosphere. We shot for about an hour here doing a few varied things (for content detail you'll have to do a workshop!). Unfortunately, due to the weather, we couldn’t continue shooting outside and drove back to Flavia's flat to shoot inside. This was very impromptu and wasn't really what I'd planned for. The break in the session meant a loss of continuity to what we were doing. The up side was that we got to shoot inside and outside for variation.

Here's a couple of sneaky shots I got in whilst setting things up.

Shooting indoors, for me, is a very different workflow. Nearly all the emotive
portrait work I've done that I wanted to use as the basis for this workshop has
been done outdoors - with the wind and open space being primary components.

The variety though and the challenge that brings with it was good. We had to adapt on the spot, so important to be able to do that. Damo did get some great shots and I'll post them when I get them.