« on: May 22, 2013, 12:15:38 PM »
One of my friends asked me to take her portrait for her new website (family counseling). She prefaced her email request with saying that “you take such wonderful dog pictures you think you could take one of me?” I didn’t say a thing, just wrote to her and said I would give it a try but warned her she would be my first subject and that there would be no charge. I did some reading on setting, things to be aware of, e.g., clothing, etc., and of course lighting, positions, and so on. I read some pretty interesting tips on the process and then post-processing. The lady was in her early sixties and had age lines, wrinkles, blemishes, and an assortment of other spots, and features that indicated a rich life. The shooting went fine, I found a nice completely shaded spot, a neutral wall about 10 feet in the background, and I had my 85mm, 135mm, and my 35 mm Sigma. I had her look to me over her shoulder and up as I was slightly above her and did my best to minimize any areas that I didn’t think were flattering.
I sent several thumbnails to her that I had processed and thought I had hit it on the head, pun intended. Her response was that they were too close and showed too much of her face. She then related to me that she hated her face. On receipt of this feedback I realized that I had assumed too much about what the client had wanted. Her idea about a portrait and mine were totally different. One of the “tips” I had found for doing portrait photography was to spend some one on one time with the client to get to know them and get a feel of what they wanted. Being a friend I obviously knew her but I didn’t really understand her expectations and it led to a failed session. I had assumed the client wanted a head shot in a serene setting for her website. I got that part nailed but it obviously wasn’t what she wanted. One of the things I took away was that there are many definitions about what a portrait is and guiding my client towards what that is should have been my first priority. I'm not posting the pictures because she didn't like them and I respect her privacy. The point of this post is to widen my understanding of what a client wants, how to direct them (and myself) to a mutual agreement prior to taking the shots, and other points that would result in a successful session.
Any comments appreciated.