“A portrait! What could be more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound?”
Charles Baudelaire, 1859
There are various reasons for a portrait photo session. Some clients just want to have a nice photo for themselves, while others might want to give it to their loved ones. Others need it for business purpose. But there is always a reason and there needs to be a plan how to achieve the desired result.
I will always have a discussion with my clients before the actual photo shooting. During that session I try to understand my client’s needs and plan the session accordingly.
When Alicia came for a portrait photo session, she was in the transition of leaving Shanghai after many years living in the city. I met her in a restaurant, having dinner with a group of people, showing a certain strength in her expressions and behavior, which attracted me as a photographer. During the session preparation we agreed on trying to get portraits, which would show this state of strength and melancholy. After seeing the results, she was very pleased and a bit surprised about me seeing aspects in her personality, which she was not aware of. Compared to previous photo sessions, she told me, this was a totally different and rich experience.
Phoebie is a Chinese client who came to my studio with her husband, helping with translation. However, she is very professional and all the posing went quite easy.
Shooting children portraits can be very easy. Children act naturally in front of a camera, once they overcome their initial shyness. Therefore one has to put a little effort into the beginning of the photo session.
When Julia entered the studio together with her Brazilian father, who was scheduled to have the photo shooting, she was hiding behind his legs and not saying a word. However, I could see from her facial expression that she understood every single English word I was saying, even better than her father. But she refused to talk. I wanted her help with the translation, so I put my focus on her. But she still did not answer my questions and kept quiet. Finally I got the idea to say: “Now I know, what the problem is, there is a switch on your back and the talking is switched off”. I touched her back, pretending I would turn a switch and the second I did so, she started talking. I was lucky. She helped me with translations and the longer the shooting with her father took, the more she opened up. Finally I also did a portrait shooting with her and as you can see, she is a very extrovert and funny young lady.