Monday, December 12, 2011

Spontaneous Portrait??? - (or give them what they want, not what they ask for)

It’s nice when a portrait presents itself from a real situation.

The assignment was pretty nebulous, as they often are. I was asked to take pictures of a new holiday market, but from the request, it was clear the story was about this local business man and his “entrepreneurial spirit.” While shooting the safety shots of people shopping at the market, I noticed that Christopher was on the sidewalk trying to drum up business like a modern-day carnival hawker. A couple of minutes later, and I have a shot that really tells much more about the subject than a contrived picture of him standing stiffly with the market in the background. And I get a great quote as a bonus - “It’s a little Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey, but whatever it takes takes to to get people out here,” says Lancette. Remember, it’s photoJOURNALISM.

Moral(s) of the story -
1. Read between the lines of the photo-request and give them what they want, not what they asked for (well, along with what they ask for - just in case).
2. If time allows, natural behavior trumps a posed portrait hands down.

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