Monday, October 20, 2008

Portrait Sitting

My client in a totally unscripted, spontaneous moment.
This ended up being her favorite picture and is the one she's now using on her site.

As many of you know, I recently decided to go into business for myself. Most of my work involves writing and editing, but sometimes I have a client with a request outside of those skills. Case in point: today's photos feature a client of mine who needed a new head shot for her website. She's a very successful, independent lobbyist and paper industry expert, but the picture she originally had on her site made her look like a criminal. (Seriously.) She called me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I would come over to her offices downtown and take pictures she could use on her site.

We used a table lamp set on the floor to give us some side lighting,
which resulted in a picture that had sort of a magazine feel and quality to it.
We both liked this picture a lot, but it is definitely posed and less spontaneous.

I'd never done anything like this before, but I'm always game for a challenge, so I told her I'd do it. These three pictures are some of the results of that portrait session. Even though I don't have professional equipment and even though we improvised with the available lighting, both my client and I were pleased with the outcome.

This picture is similar to the one above,
but just a touch darker and, obviously, in black and white.

I have to give a shout-out to a friend for giving me pointers on how to pose people and to a freelance graphic designer I use to work with who Photoshopped an annoying plug out of the pictures that I totally missed while I was doing this shoot. I learned a lot and I really appreciated the opportunity to explore and expand my photo skills.

Thank you, Grace, Maya, and Judi!

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 10/08


Anonymous said...

I think you did a great job. My son does this or did. Now he works for someone and is their art director, but when he worked for himself he had a building full of photo stuff and a studio with two floors and stage lighting. All of these things were used to make pro shots of everything you can imagine. Some of his best work, in my opinion, was the unstaged stuff. The spontaneous is often far better than staged and he knew it and tried to use it and finally was able to rent the whole place to an upcoming photographer who thought he had the stuff she needed to be successful.

I am really glad you tried it and that it was successful for you. It all looks good to me.

And I went to you website and it looks good too.

I would say you are on your way.

Just remember to charge for insurance, meals, rent, transportation, new equipment and so on each time you take a picture. LOL

Virginia said...

Oh these are great. I love the first one because she is so relaxed and natural. THe second one has a tad too much light to the right for me but you fixed that right up in the 3rd photo. The composition is excellent in all 3. You go girl! Proud of you for stepping out. It's hard to try new things on a client, but you did a professional job.

An electrical plugs are the bane of my exisitence. I find them everytime after the fact.

marley said...

Three very good photos. I like the black and white one best. Your skills are really growing :)

Z said...

She does look happy and friendly in these photos. You did a nice job with your 'non-pro' gear! I use my decade-old consumer digital camera to do mug shots of us for things like ID cards and visa applications and my results are better than that of the two 'professional' photo studios that we've tried out. Go figure!

BTW, the version on her website seems to be of lower resolution than the one here, or at least there's some artifact that crept in.

USelaine said...

These are wonderful! I would never suspect this face of any crimes, honest. 6^)

pierre l said...

As the others have said, these pictures are lovely -- well done. I do like picture where people are smiling; looking at the website, I am sure she does serious work, and has little time for smiling, but that picture is a great introduction for her services.

Tash said...

looks like you have an expansion in the making for your business!
You made your subject relaxed - that's what we all need from the photographer. Wonderful photos - love her expression in the 1st one. I like the simplicily of lines in the 2nd - beautifully "staged"

Maya said...

You are so welcome! I'm glad they turned out well.

D.C. Confidential said...

Abe: Thank you! I agree with you about the positives of spontaneous versus posed shots. I took the spontaneous photo of Grace early in the session as we were setting up for all the other photos. When we went through the pictures later, she liked most of them, but kept coming back to this one. Personally, I think it's the one that best captures her personality and is perfect!

VJ: Thanks! I really had to fiddle with the settings on my camera to get the light right in the last two. This was a fun project, though, and I'd do it again!

Marley: Thank you. I'd don't know if my skills are growing as much as my pure, dumb luck is getting luckier! :-)

Z: Danke! I wish I had the original photo she had up for comparison. As for the resolution on the photo on her site, we can't figure out what that's about. I'm actually going to her office today to see if we can resolve the matter.

USElaine: Thanks! This is a face of honesty and integrity, I can promise you that! Grace is one of the few people I know in Washington who isn't deceitful. She's one of the few people I respect in this town.

Pierre: Thank you! One of the great things about Grace is, despite the weighty nature of her work, she always looks like she's enjoying it and she brings a warmth and joie de vivre to her work that is comforting and infectious.

Tash: Thanks! Photographing Grace was easy, because she's such a personable woman. I hope if I have clients in the future who need something like this, they're just as easy going.

Maya: Thanks again for your help. I really, really appreciate it! You ROCK! ;-)

Debi said...


You did a fantastic job!

D.C. Confidential said...

Debi: Thank you! This was a great experience for me and I learned a lot. (Now if we could just figure out why the heck Grace's picture is pixelating on her website and fix it, all would be right with the world!)