“It is better to inspire than direct." —Sheryl Sandberg

Critic's CornerA special approach to the portrait board.

Portraits and head shots. Learn the finer points of lighting and posing.
- Images are subject to constructive comment, discussion and critique. If you do not want critique post in the Member's Showcase.
User avatar
Ed Shapiro
Key Founding Member
Key Founding Member
Posts: 298
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:29 am
Reputation: 6
Location: Ottawa, Ontario CANADA
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

A special approach to the portrait board.

Postby Ed Shapiro » Thu Jan 22, 2015 11:23 pm

I was just about to forget about the world of online photo forums when this group began to form as Bobby’s brainchild. Bobby and I are both “seasoned veterans” of this milieu; however, I wanted to flee what I considered a “hornet’s nest” of discontent, egoism and narrow-mindedness, crazy politics, especially in the area of portraiture. Bobby, however, was looking forward to a better vision of what a photography forum should be; a place of education, camaraderie and love of craft to be shared by enthusiasts and professionals. This is why I felt honored to be invited to be part of this group.

The name of the site fascinated me! Why? I have been a working pro for many years; I have also been a teacher, trainer and an instructor- that’s easy for me- no big challenge- I think I am good at it and all I have to do is prepare or follow a curriculum, deliver the information and perhaps inspire folks to do well and get with the program. Being a MENTOR is an entirely, different, diverse and more responsible role to assume- something I aspire to. It means, to me, striking a balance between your “student’s” inborn talents and artistry and installing in them the technical excellence they will need to master their craft and is some cases to help break them in to the business aspects of the profession.

There are many beginning photographers with an artistic flare or “touch” who feel that technical excellence, rules, protocols and set methodologies are not necessary and some of the even tend to resent such concepts- they are mistaken! The basic principles are the foundation of creativity- the rules are your tools! Once the basics are mastered, they pave a faster and easier road from the imagery in your mind’s eye to the tangible imagery on a sheet of photographic paper. The rules are then yours to keep, break, alter, improvise upon and create your own style. You will posses the gift of “creativity on demand” which requires certain starting points or frames of reference. In difficult circumstances, pressured working conditions or in situations that require problem solving and troubleshooting; you will always come out with a job under your belt- especially in critical professional work where deadlines are strict, money is changing hand, and failure is not an option.

The teaching/learning process can be very complex because not everyone teaches and learns in the same way. Sometimes I feel somewhat handicapped as a teacher because I have never had formal training in pedagogy- the art and science of teaching. My experience, however, has taught me that most folks who want to learn NEED and want definitive answers to their questions; therefore there is a need for certain “nuts and bolts” procedures, skill sets, methods, rules and guidelines for people to use on their way to mastering their craft. I can’t just tell people to ignore technique and follow their instincts and issues will take care of themselves. Doing that would lead to people endlessly floundering in a sea of trial and error with very little progress and good old plain KNOW HOW!

The “hornet’s nest” that I alluded to earlier, in many forums, was usually headquartered in the area of critiquing- too bad- almost tragic! One of the most effective learning and teaching tools lies in the critiquing process. It’s good that in this forum, members have the option of opting in or out of critiquing activities, however, I do recommend participating in giving and asking for critiques because it is stimulating, beneficial and even lots of fun if handled with the right attitude. My own personal theory is that when one begins to fall in love with every image they produce; that’s when stagnation begins to set in!

Our small group here is very fortunate to already have experienced portrait photographers of various specialties, styles and schools of thought. This is an invaluable asset to any teaching and learning community. Seriously counterproductive issues occur when there is a “my way or the highway” attitude on the loose in a forum. It is a superior learning environment when people are exposed to a wider range of styles and methods and can form their own opinions. Too many folks will tend to pigeonhole various styles as old school, dated, cutting edge and other extremes without really appreciating the true value of theses styles and the learning opportunities that can be derived from studying them.

Perhaps too many beginning photographers want to run before the can walk and become too involved in special effects, advanced techniques and complicated equipment concepts before they have their basics down pat. Many inexperienced photographers become preoccupied with large investments in equipment and continually upgrade their gear thinking that it will improve their work- all to no avail and things can become highly frustrating! Fine portraiture can be created with any decent DSLR and normal to medium telephoto zoom lens and a few serviceable lights.

My vision for the portrait forum includes a series of tutorials for those who need to bone up on their basics and a number of articles for the advanced workers. Please check in frequently to the tutorials section to look for those portrait lessons and post here in the Portrait section of the Critics Corner for critiques and analysis and of your portraits. If you have any questions about portraiture, you can post them as well.

I look forward to everyone’s contributions, questions and critiques. You suggestions are also very important to me so please post them or send me a PM. I prefer that questions be posted publicly if possible for the benefit of other members who are reading on and may find your questions or suggesting interesting and wish to chime in- you will also receive more help this way.

This is gonna be great !
Ed
Attachments
Little Lady in Pink.jpg
Little Lady in Pink.jpg (252.91 KiB) Viewed 954 times

User avatar
Onslow
Key Founding Member
Key Founding Member
Posts: 1085
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:42 am
Reputation: 15
Location: Whyalla, South Australia
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, you can edit but ask me first
Contact:

Re: A special approach to the portrait board.

Postby Onslow » Thu Jan 22, 2015 11:39 pm

Ed Shapiro wrote: My own personal theory is that when one begins to fall in love with every image they produce; that’s when stagnation begins to set in!

Ed

Ed, whilst I completely agree with the entire post, I think the most interesting and valuable part for me was the line above. I think this is incredibly important for people to realise.
I struggle with the imagery I produce, I find it difficult to be "happy" with images yet I do find I can be "satisfied" with them. Whilst this may seem a contradiction, I don't believe it is for the following reason. The imagery I produce really challenges me and pushes my boundaries. When I review on the computer, I see flaws galore, I am not happy as a result with them. However, there are images that, even though I percieve them as flawed, I am still satisfied with. Why? It's because I know that even though I may see how they could be improved, I am satisfied that I did the best I could given my experience, posing skill, analysis skill, lighting skill, and processing skills. I am starting to produce images sooc that I am much happier with than my sooc work a yr or two ago. Love them though? no... Still, due to the influence of you and others such as Bobby, I have slowly lifted my skillset. Whilst I am learning, I am happy. :)
Hmm, hang on.... Not happy, but content may be a better way of describing it. Once I sit down and start loving my images, I think it'll be time to put the camera away.

User avatar
Shine Gonzalvez
Mentoris Dux
Mentoris Dux
Posts: 355
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 5:15 pm
Reputation: 2
Location: London,UK
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Re: A special approach to the portrait board.

Postby Shine Gonzalvez » Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:21 am

Ed.... Not only do you take beautiful photos , you write beautifully too... to read posts like yours is a pleasure...

davechinn
Mentoris Quintus
Mentoris Quintus
Posts: 708
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:01 pm
Reputation: 30
Location: Ky
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Re: A special approach to the portrait board.

Postby davechinn » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:17 am

Ed, great write up. To read this and know how Bobby feels in the teaching area of this craft it gives me warning that help is on the way. I feel fortunate to be a part of this group and really happy to be here. I will keep a look out for future posts. What encourages me is to look at my images a year ago and compare them to current ones. To see improvement is one of my motivators. Thanks for all that you will do for everyone and to this forum. Oh, and very lovely portrait.
Dave

User avatar
Bobby Deal
Key Founding Member
Key Founding Member
Posts: 868
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:19 am
Reputation: 0
Location: Las Vegas
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Re: A special approach to the portrait board.

Postby Bobby Deal » Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:14 am

Ed that diversity and your vast photographic experience and knowledge are precisely why I invited you her to be part of this community from the very 1st day. I know that with as much as I know about this craft I still have only scratched the surface of the topic and have no doubt that you in your 40 or so years in this business have lost, misplaced and forgotten more about photography than I am ever likely to know. The day I quite learning and feel like I have created the perfect image I will set down my camera and surrender myself to the universe for the next thing it has in store for me.

Bobby Deal - Commercial Photographer

MY SMUGMUG GALLERIES

Studio Photography Lighting and Modeling Workshops

"The only photographer we ought compare ourselves to is the one we used to be"

PhotoMentoris- "A diverse artistic community dedicated to a culture of photographic education, sharing and creative tolerance"

User avatar
pop511
Mentoris Grandis
Mentoris Grandis
Posts: 298
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:29 am
Reputation: 30
Location: Sydney,Australia
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Re: A special approach to the portrait board.

Postby pop511 » Sat Feb 07, 2015 3:20 am

I have followed Ed for some time. To those who don't know him and post pictures for his evaluation, is to be critiqued by a gentleman with a fountain of expert knowledge.
ed davis


Return to “Portraits & Head Shots”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests