All this talk of lighting makes me eager to do portraits again. Portrait photography was my only professional specialty. My breakthrough there came when a friend who owned a frame shop in Georgetown (a fashionable neighborhood of Washington D.C.) gave me a beautiful display space in her store. I hung fifteen portraits in the round room in the center of the store where she did her consultations for customers. Any of her customers who saw my work there would call me wanting work in just the style I happened to practice, which was a great boon.
In return, I'd leave the finished work at the frame shop for pickup—where of course it was only natural for people to go ahead and get their portrait framed.
I have very little of my "old" portrait work digitized, but here are a couple of examples I've showed here before:
My girlfriend S. has on her wall here a portrait of her son as a baby that I did for her 22 years ago. A straightforward naturalistic photographic style holds up well as the years go by.
I did many portraits by natural light and many by artificial light. My favorite artificial light was when I'd arrive at a client's house to find a room with white walls and a white ceiling—a single flash aimed up into the corner of the room made a beautiful three-way softbox that was also quite versatile, since the light would change depending on where you located the person.
Do you have a favorite portrait or portraitist? I'm not usually egocentric at all, but quite honestly my favorite portraitist is me. Maybe that's just because I can do work that exactly suits my taste, I don't know.
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