A Clean, High Key Portrait
What makes a perfect client?
Well, big-spenders are nice. But what I really love is a client who has a fairly good idea of what they want, and also values expert advice. Last week one walked in our door.
Holly needed a headshot or full-length portrait for her new website. She told me she liked a very clean, high key look and sent examples of what she meant. Yes, we really do want to see images that appeal to or repel our clients. Those images give us a chance to analyze what that client likes, then plan how best to make that happen within any other confines of the shoot.
Holly and I talked over clothing options and chair/stool ideas. But picturing how things will work based on descriptions over the phone is hard, so we decided she should just bring a variety of each. We also discussed a solid white backdrop versus a white brick background.
The day of the session, Scott and I hung the white backdrop. The white brick was still an option, but we didn’t like the floor in front of the brick for this session. As an alternative way to add some texture and dimension, we hung white gauze over the white backdrop.
Trusting the process
When Holly pulled up, the fun began. She was willing to do lots of test shots to really dial in exactly the look she wanted. She tried several tops, several chairs, the backdrop with and without gauze, and a range of camera exposures. We all reviewed the test images until we settled on just the right combinations.
A few clients have had modeling experience and are therefore comfortable in front of the camera. Holly lacked that experience, but threw herself completely into the project. She wasn’t always sure what to do with herself, but she didn’t let that slow her down. She looked to Scott for direction on posing and solicited our opinions on the results.
We reviewed the images repeatedly through out the session so we could tweak the results. She had strong likes and dislikes, but also clearly valued our opinions. Of the three photos she chose, two were her picks and one was ours.
The session ran longer than we usually plan for, but we enjoyed the creative process with her. Taking that time meant we could look at how slight changes in posture or expression could shift an image from ok to great. I think we met her vision of a high key portrait, but I’m very pleased at how well her personality shows through her photos. I can’t wait until her website goes live and we can see them in use!