You have to like people to do portraits

July 27, 2017

Now, about portraits.  A gifted healer and risk-taking outdoors woman I know, blanched at the idea of sitting for a portrait for me.  She told me a story about a previous experience in which she felt traumatized by looking at her life-size and larger image - every spot, stray hair and “imperfection” magnified. I spend way too much time editing portraits, not yet using any portrait enhancement software other than Photoshop.  It isn’t that I do so much “correcting”, it is that I fall in love with the image so to speak. Whether I know the person well or not, it feels like an intimate privilege to look at someone’s skin up close, to have the time to notice the fleck of brown in a blue eye or really, remove a nose hair that I know few would notice in real life but the sitter would see in his portrait. Clearly I must become faster at editing and let software work for me. I might gain some distance from the image but don’t think I’ll lose the sense of endearment that floods me when I’m bringing out the best in someone’s likeness. Is this weird or the experience only of a new portrait photographer? I’ve never had this conversation with another photographer, but I’m willing to bet no matter how fast someone edits, the art of it comes from being able to love. 



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