This year, 2010, I want to get back to taking more portraits. I particularly like working with teenagers. Its a time of great change, opportunities and aspirations and a time that is all too soon gone. For parents, having a great portrait, that portrays the vitality, personality and interests of their teenage offspring is often missing from the family album. Teenagers get self-conscious, sometimes feel awkward, but a good portrait can do wonders for their self-esteem and make them realize those teenage years are precious.
I’ve worked with young people and find them funny, bright, able to express themselves and often very talented in their on sphere of interest and quite direct in their approach.
I like working outdoors in natural light, using the minimum amount of ‘formal’ equipment except as where necessary. Choosing the right location and time of day is important, all contributing to an image that will have meaning long after the photo is taken.
The advantage of a portrait shoot is that I can make images that show different moods, serious, fun, ‘urban’, relaxed – all of the same person, and since teenagers are multi-faceted, this is a perfect opportunity for them to present themselves in different guises. Sometimes it’s a guitar they want to include, sometimes its that first car or motorbike. May be they play cricket or rugby.
Most important, the event should be fun. I like to meet the client before the shoot to talk about what fires them, what their interests are, places or things that are important to them. From that we can determine some ideas for the shoot in advance, may be get permission where necessary (for instance, if horse riding is a main interest, we may need to get permission from the stable owner to photograph on their premises). Images can be color or mono. Images can be printed and framed or printed onto canvas. I encourage my clients to think in terms of having the image as a piece of art, to hang on a wall, to make a statement, not merely a photo to put away in an album or a picture in a small frame on the mantelpiece.