View Full Version : How do you, or do you, keep up with the changing styles of Portrait Photography?
1st of July 2007 (Sun), 21:36
I'm just starting out turning my hobby into a business,
and at this point I specialize in Baby and Studio Portraiture.
But I find a lot of people asking if I will/can do outdoor portraits, which was not my original intention after investing in studio equipment. For a couple of friends I will probably go ahead and give it a try, but am uncertain if I desire to continue that part of things.
Granted I do have a couple of outdoor portraits in my portfolio.. though admittedly they were of my own kids, I just didn't pick up on the fact that Outdoor Portraits have become such a important thing trend/stylistically that is.
So on to the main query.. how do you OR do you try to keep up with the current Portrait Photography trends/styles/leanings? I want to 'please' the clients, and meet their changing needs.. but am unsure how flexible I should/need to be?
If there's a way to learn what is most common/current please let me know.
Also if anyone cares to take a look at my small Portfolio, maybe you could comment on whether I seem up to date.. or am I outdated with my styles?
Here's the link:
Thanks a bunch :), ~Rae~
1st of July 2007 (Sun), 21:59
The only thing I can suggest is to eat, sleep and breathe this stuff because trends and styles change almost on a monthly basis now with the advent of digital. THere is always a new app to come out or a new twist on an old style. Digital has made it slightly easier for the average person to get great shots so it is almost a must to stay on top of the trends constantly or you will surely fall behind.
Join forums, read magazines, check internet galleries of everything and anything photo related.
2nd of July 2007 (Mon), 13:30
I agree that you have to roll with the trends if you want to make money. You probably need to do both indoor and outdoor, but if you really don't like the idea of outdoor, limit yourself to outdoor fall shots (get the Christmas card business that way) and make no apologies. In your part of the country, having a studio would be a godsend, given unpredictable weather.
Looking at your site, I was horrified to see the first shot, the six month old in the bean bag or whatever with those horrible horizon lines. Perfect example of what not to do, because that absolutely looks very, very old school and like a Walmart Portrait Studio shot. I have two issues with it actually, one being that it looks so "Walmart" the other being that a six month old should be able to sit up by herself, or with a discreetly placed parent's hand hidden under a blanket. This will make simplify the shot, and make her clothes look better too. Better to do a tummy shot if she absolutely can't sit up at that age. If you absolutely must use a bean bag (they are great tools for 0-6months), use a very large one, and punch a nice and deep hole in it, NEAR THE FLOOR, and place the baby in it. The hole should be low enough to allow you to fill the frame with the kid, head to toe, without ever seeing any background at all. Of course your background becomes the blanket you've covered the bean bag with.
On the other hand, you have those shots of the kid on the black background. NOW you are going somewhere. That is much more contempory and parents LOVE the black background stuff. You know what you are doing, and your work is good, but I think you need to spend some time updating your "look". Even post processing can result in an updated look by the way you crop your pics. There is a distinct difference between "timeless and classic" and "dated".
Keep up the good work. That you are asking the question shows that you have what it takes. Good luck with your studio!
2nd of July 2007 (Mon), 13:56
Thanks for the tips thus far.
suecassidy, thanks for your tips and for taking a moment to look at my portfolio. I actually used a boppy pillow, but had to roll a blanket under her knees as well because she was a scooter and was scooting off of my posing table. This was a somewhat small six month old, who could not at ALL sit up on her own, and was very wobbly if held onto as well. I'm afraid.. you hit the nail on the head.. I actually was (blush) copying the general retail studio look in this shot, so is that a typical 'no-no' then? The little girl hates tummy time.. although the third image in my portfolio have up was of her on her tummy (same girl, different outfit/expression), we only did a total of like 2 mins on her tummy.. out of a 1 hour shoot though. Because she doesn't do well that direction.
How would you define the difference between 'timeless and classic' and 'dated' ?? Because I'd love to have some of the former.. with avoiding as much as possible the latter of course.
Thanks again :),
2nd of July 2007 (Mon), 14:30
Hey Rae, Really when you look at most of the older portrait books, there really isn't anything new. Just rehashed stuff. lame backgrounds, standard poses, (beach portraits where everyone wears the same outfit) kids with angel wings or god forbid the rose pose.
Tired rehashed over done crap from thousands and thousands of camera owners OlafPills, sears, CPA or the walfart chain are the worst. I am constantly looking for something new to use, alot of the stuff seen on the web are images that are copied and copied like a bad document on a toner deficient copy machine.
One of the reasons Anne Geddes was so popular was that some of her work was fairly original. Then of course tons of imitators were everywhere.
Every once in a while you see somthing fresh but not often enough...
2nd of July 2007 (Mon), 15:56
looked at 1 of the portraits on your flicker page.
Just wondering why.......
Orientation: Horizontal (normal), Is it a portrait?
Focus Mode: AI Focus AF, surley single would be better?
Canon Exposure Mode: Shutter Speed Priority AE, portrait, studio, manual?
AF Point: Auto AF point selection, should you select 1 point and focus on the eyes?
Camera Type: EOS Low-end, is it wise to put this in the extra info?
Image Type: IMG:EOS DIGITAL REBEL JPEG, maybe RAW would give best quality?
Just wondering why.
2nd of July 2007 (Mon), 16:33
dahis .. you didn't explain which image you looked at?
The majority of my studio portraits were taken in Raw and converted to jpg later.
I am confused by your post.. what is your point? Are you suggesting I strip the EXIF or what?
2nd of July 2007 (Mon), 16:47
last pic on 3rd row.
Why do you need all that info?
You wanting to earn from photography, fine, but a lot about business is percieved professionalism.
To have information available that states "Camera Type: EOS Low-end" I personally would not make viewable.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not having a go at your portraits, as I say, much in business is about percieved professionalism.
Put it this way, Don McCullen turns up in an old banger of a car with an Olympus trip. Paris Hilton turns up in a Bently with a 1Ds Mk2, a bag full of 'L' lenses. Who would be percieved to be the better tog?
You get where I'm coming from?
2nd of July 2007 (Mon), 22:25
Sorry I had trouble following what you meant earlier. It hasn't been a good day for me.
I hadn't really noticed that the exif was written out so clearly on flickr, I have gone in and disabled the exif data now.
I know to 'some' people my camera might be considered low end.. but to most of my friends and hence the people I am 'targeting' for clients.. it's actually considered quite pricey. So for 'some' clients that might turn them away.... but one has to keep in mind the final image result not the expensive equipment too.
As for the picture you were referring to, the exif was likely no longer correct for it anyway, since I had to do a fair bit of post-processing on the image. It was taken in jpg.. because I didn't have a raw converter at the time.. times and experience/knowledge have changed since then.
My portfolio is 'small/incomplete' .. because I'm just starting out.. most of the images are of family or friends, I expect to expand and improve the quality as I time goes on.
3rd of July 2007 (Tue), 00:12
Just a little reality check:
On my dining room wall is a nice 11 x 14 of my wife's grandfather, who is long since deceased. It's probably at least 70 years old. B&W of course.
The lighting in that shot is perfect. Wonderful soft shadows from a well-positioned key light, catchlights from the fill, a little vignetting on the background, and the perfect amount of shine from the hair light. Probably shot with what we would call medium format today. The DOF is just right with his far shoulder a bit soft. The pose and expression are exactly right for a classic executive portrait. This was back in the days before strobes, done in a truly "hot" studio.
Environmental styles change, but good lighting is timeless. A great portrait will always be a great portrait. No matter where you take pictures, I think if you understand light you'll be able to do a good job. If you understand light and lighting, if you know how to "read" an image and "reverse engineer" the light, you'll be able to see the trends and copy any style you want, if indeed that is your goal.
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