Getting Under The Skin Page 2
If this type of portraiture interests you, study album or magazine covers where a celebrity is often seen in an unusual pose or wearing unusual clothing. The trick is to let the subject simply be who they are. Create a space in which they feel safe and can act out. This is a very successful technique that is used to photograph celebrities and one I often used in my Hollywood studio. This is especially fun to try with your children, who will often do things celebrities would never think of doing!
This portrait of Nicole was lit quite simply with an Olympus FL-50 dedicated flash with a white card taped to the back. The camera was an Olympus E-1 with a Lexar 512MB 40x card.
This is a group portrait of the Moffat High 2004 graduating class. Group portraiture has its own dynamic since there are so many personalities to deal with. The easy approach is to have everyone stand, kneel, or sit, look into the camera, release the shutter then go home. This technique doesn't interest me. Even when working with multiple subjects I want to try and capture something unique about each one.
Using a Deluxe Muslin backdrop from Backdrop Outlet (www.backdropoutlet.com)
I created a space outside of everyday reality, unlike the space in which I placed
Nicole, which was familiar to her. I arranged the seniors in the space, paying
attention to which ones were the most gregarious and bringing them forward.
While I pretended to fiddle with my camera I made light banter with the subjects
until they were no longer "focused" on the camera and felt comfortable
with me. At that point they began to joke and horse around with each other,
coming up with imaginative things to do, at which point I began photographing
Three Profoto monolights with umbrellas were used: two were placed on either side, one at full power and one at half power; the third light was placed at camera left for fill. The camera used was an Olympus E-1.
Steve Anchell is an internationally published photographer/writer. Anchell has authored many books on technique and has conducted photographic and darkroom workshops since 1979. For more information on his workshops call (719) 256-4157 or visit www.anchellworkshops.com.