Photographing humans is a real passion of mine. I consider it to be my specialty. So what makes a great portrait? I don’t think it matters whether I am in the studio capturing a simple head shot, at the Museum following kids around for a website piece or on the streets of India, the process is fundamentally the same if the end result is to be a captivating image.

What makes a cracking portrait is a connection, a connection between the subject and the viewer, as the photographer I believe my role is to transfer that emotion between the two. I think my trip to India in 2013 was a real eye opener in this regard. In many instances I had a very short amount of time, sometimes seconds, to make a connection with my subject, gain their acceptance and capture the image. On many occasions I spent up to 30 minutes sitting and talking with people to ensure they were super relaxed with me. Many of the portraits show this, a feeling of connection, like I am capturing a friend. It would have been easy to just point the camera at each person and surprise them with the camera. The results would have been a little more bland.

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When I am in my studio, or out capturing an environmental portraits the process is the same. I believe the connection between me and my subject is imperative. I am simply interrupting the conversation with the camera on occasion to capture the moment. Although it is not always possible, I prefer to take the time to get to know my subject. Even if for a moment, otherwise how do I know when the moment is just right?

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When Sam and I are shooting interviews for a video production the process is very similar. The vast majority of our subjects have little or no experience in front of the camera. Spending 10 minutes prior to rolling is rewarded by a relaxed natural interview. We constantly get feedback that the experience was ‘so much easier than I expected’.

Street photography made my commercial photography better.

Peace, Denis.

 

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