PEOPLE AND PORTRAITURE

Telling the stories of our lives ... and our loves.

For an explanation and illustration of each category within PEOPLE photography that I offer, as well as helpful information about how I approach each, please scroll further down the page.

There, you will find a section on each of these categories:

PORTRAITURE

ENVIRONMENTAL PORTRAITURE

FASHION / BEAUTY

STREET / NIGHT LIFE

ARTISTS & MUSICIANS

If you have further questions or need something a bit different, feel free to contact me and we can discuss what it is you are wanting. I will do my best to make the perfect portrait for you.

Portraiture & Creative Portraiture

Portrait: /ˈpôrtrət,ˈpôrˌtrāt/ – a painting, drawing, photograph, or engraving of a person, especially one depicting only the face, head, or shoulders. That’s the dictionary definition, and certainly it’s quite accurate. We have terms for more defined areas, such as “a headshot” (head/face only), or “a full-body shot” (the entire head-to-toe span of a person), and so forth. This broad genre has expanded into specialized areas beyond what the above alludes to, such as Pet Photography which can cover not only animals in general, but actual “portraits” of pets. There are also specialities for humans: baby portraits and high-school senior portraits are two examples.

Much goes into making a quality portrait, such as knowledge of lighting techniques, posing (better to think of it in terms of Jay Maisel’s word for it: “gesture”), setting or background, lens choices, and more technical aspects such as the amount of background blur (known as depth-of-field) that is desired for the look one is going for. Then, there’s all the other compositional and artistic elements to consider. Portraits are commonly done in-studio, but are also are often done “on-location” using more portable lighting equipment and sometimes using portable backdrops. At left is an example of a “creative” portrait done in-studio, of Mississippi high school State champion running back Dee Fleming (done in a “Sports Illustrated” pose and lighting style). It’s a dramatic, yet fun and unique portrait that he will have forever, to remember his special high school days by. That’s priceless!

My Style/My Vision: I love to approach an image story for each and every person as the individual that they are. This is NOT traditional portraiture in the sense of professional headshots or the traditional-look portrait (I certainly do those, and examples are found under my Commercial Photography work elsewhere on this site). With Creative Portraiture work, I want to search beyond the surface, go deep, and capture something that is unique to them in some way. This requires planning, talking, and preparation. For example, if a person is a football player, it wouldn’t simply be just a matter of having the person hold a football or a helmet in their arm (a matter of their wardrobe and props), but I want the look and feel of the photo to be unique as well – not just the same lighting, the same places, the same backdrops, the same editing style for everyone. In my humble opinion, there’s already a bit too much of the “cookie-cutter” approach that makes person after person look the same. I want to individualize and personalize not only the poses and the look, but the entire feel of the image to represent the person who is in the photograph. This pushes me. It also, frankly, drives up the cost a bit … but quality, value, and uniqueness are worth the extra effort. More importantly, making your portrait extra special is worth the extra effort!

Environmental Portraiture

Environmental portraiture is just one of the many categories or genres of photography services that I offer. It is also one of my personal favorites. A bit different from the more isolated subject-nature of strict portraiture or headshots, this special niche of portraiture places you in some context/setting of your identity, personality, character, life, work, or interests. It is more than a prop or a backdrop … it portrays the “environment” that really tells the viewer of the image much more about you. One thing to be aware of is that the subject (the person) is smaller in the overall frame than normal portraiture, as the angle of view is wider. The image pictured is an example of an environmental portrait taken of retired Natchez Under-the-Hill Saloon bartender J.D. Montgomery. He is seated on one of the Saloon’s boardwalk benches only yards from the mighty Mississippi river itself, on Silver Street in Natchez, Mississippi. In Environmental Portraiture, the location, setting, props (if any), wardrobe, and staging are important and often are very deliberately chosen for the message being conveyed in the image.

My Style / My Vision: I love this type of portraiture, and it can range from simply having the camera and one speed light to take care of the lighting, to on-location full set-ups requiring battery packs, c-stands, mono-strobes, octabank soft boxes, radio triggers, and the whole nine yards. What dictates the equipment and complexity of  the production in shooting the session are things like: a) the budget for the session; b) the quality and amount of the pre-production effort that informs the way the shoot needs to go. I can go either way, short & sweet, or a full-blown effort. I have the gear and skill to do both … or anywhere in-between. It’s completely up to you. I’m here to get you what you want.

Fashion / Beauty (and Glamour)

Defining and describing the various genres of photography can often lead to debate about what defines that genre. This is certainly true in any discussion of the areas of fashion, beauty and glamour. While some may disagree, I roughly define them in the following ways: Beauty Photography typically focuses upon the head and shoulder area of the model, and is emphasizing facial beauty; Fashion Photography tends to incorporate the genre of Beauty, but leans toward a focus upon clothing and assessories; Glamour Photography tends to focus on the body, emphasizing sexuality. Those are rough guidelines, and certainly a beauty shot could indeed be a full-body shot; and to further complicate things, a wider beauty or fashion shot might also be considered an environmental portrait if certain things applied. Nevertheless, I find these definitions helpful as a starting point. Don Giannatti, my mentor in the field of commercial photography, described some of the genres this way, “Commercial photography sells a product, fashion photography sells a lifestyle, and editorial photography sells a story.” I think that’s a great way of describing things, especially fashion photography. The image to the left is an example of a beauty shot. The model is my daughter Ana, clearly one of my favorite models and for obvious reasons. She is very beautiful and a lot fun to work with! And you thought I was going to say it is because she’s my daughter.

My Style / My Vision: My goal is to get you what you need or want for your shot. Again, I’m flexible. If you want to take care of your own wardrobe, hair and makeup – that’s completely fine and is the way that most of these shoots are done. I do have access to talented local for-hire “HMUA” (hair and makeup artists), as well as professional HMUA from Jackson, Mississippi, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. If you need or want a top of the line session, one of these can be retained for you. In addition, several individuals have worked alongside me helping with wardrobe, styling, lighting and grip chores, and general assistance during sessions. On many shoots I make use of assistants to help pay close attention to “the talent” – you! While I’m focused on getting the shot, the lighting, your pose, and the composition the way it needs to be, they can be focused on making sure details are squared away, such as your hair, any wrinkles in clothing, or a piece of lint, posing details, and things like that. The better the effort, the better the outcome.

Street / Night Life

This genre of my photography encapsulates the fascinating, fun, and sometimes intimidating aspect of capturing people in real-life scenes out on the streets, roads and parks. I’ve also included Night Life scenes, such as the large photo below that I took of Bowie’s Tavern, lit with radio-controlled strobes with colored gels to light up the bar in a bluish hue. Sometimes the photos are captured without the person knowing, and sometimes they are staged. This can be a sore subject amongst photographers, with purists labeling “true” Street Photography as being unrehearsed photos of candid moments that totally capture real-life as it is. Those photos are not staged in any way, even though the person (or persons) photographed may make eye-contact with the camera. Other times, the photographer may come upon a scene and ask the person to make some slight change, or the person does it themselves. When that happens, it bends more toward portraiture rather than true street photography. Some Street Photographers out for authentic photos may “snipe” from a distance by using telephoto (long-distance lenses). Others adapt other approaches. The main idea is that it portrays life on the streets (and night life) in ways that capture reality, and sometimes that can make for stunning and moving images, or images that make you smile. [Images to Left: a girl smiles while playing in the water park on the Vidalia Riverwalk on a hot summer day; a boy playing bocce ball in the grass at the Natchez gazebo makes a reaction to one of his throws – he had no idea I was photographing him from a long distance with a telephoto lens, his pose was simply him being him.]

My Style / My Vision: I rarely go out for sessions of true Street Photography. Most of the time my photos that fall in this area are due to a commercial assignment in which I am covering an event for the Tourism Industry, and they want Street Shots or a library of shots of the people enjoying their event. HOWEVER, a great exercise that I’ve been assigned a few times by a photography mentor/instructor, is to take to the streets and to find interesting people (strangers), and to stop them and ask them if I can take their photo. This can be intimidating as a photographer, and can BE intimidating to the people I ask! Especially (and honestly) as a male, it can come across as creepy or very intimidating to females, or even guys. Nevertheless, it’s a great exercise as a photographer to force you out of your shell and get some awesome shots. That’s known more as “Street Portraiture” (because you’re stopping them and asking them to pose for a shot). It will often result in changing you to be more bold as a photographer to get in there and get a shot that no one else in your area will get … definitely a growing experience on your way to being a better photographer, both skill-wise and in learning how to successfully talk to and handle people. You definitely learn to deal with sour looks and get rejected sometimes, but other times can lead to meeting some very nice and interesting people, which can be very rewarding. I believe this genre has made me a better photographer.

A last section is coming soon, that will describe my approach to Artists / Musicians that I enjoy photographing.