Portrait Photography

Prior to assignment five, I felt that it was important to show a little of my personal inspirations from local portrait photographers that I love. Local photographers are constantly working under client briefs from parents, couples and models. Therefore it seemed only fitting to research the images that these photographers capture for their various clients on a regular basis. This will give me an idea of the type of images that for example, parents of children and new-borns are prepared to pay for. The photographers which I am researching are: Grace Photography, Paula O’Hara, and Little Mug Photography.

Firstly, what is a client brief? “Briefs can be formal or informal. They may be written down or they may exist simply as a shared understanding between the client and photographer… What every brief contains is a specification for the photographic job- some will be very specific- some loose. The brief is more concerned with the creative aspects of the job.(1)” The brief the client sets is hugely important. For example, if the photographer is given a simple brief to capture a family photo shoot, with set shots of all the children together, yet gets distracted, is too overly creative, and forgets about the basic requirements initially requested, the customer will not care about the ‘artsy’ and ‘original’ shots, but will simply notice that they did not get what they asked for. This may seem like a fundamental point, but it is easily forgotten about in the excitement and chaos of a photo shoot. Therefore, I am going to pay special attention to my client brief upon approaching this assignment.

From new-borns, to children, weddings and families, my local photographers provide a wide-range of services for their clients. For my final assignment, my subject will either be a new-born baby or a young child. Therefore, I researched both of these styles to discover different techniques and tips used by each photographer, keeping in mind that they were working under the brief of pleasing the parents. Below you will find some examples of new-born photography; all of which have given me great insight into ideas for assignment five. In all the images, we see the importance of using plain backgrounds in new-born photography. This removes any distracting background, and concentrates the focus solely on the subject. The use of wide-open apertures is also a necessity. This again blurs out any distraction in the frame, focussing solely on the baby. I intend to use my prime lens for my new-born photo shoot, along with a white fluffy blanket as my backdrop. This blanket will ensure that the baby is comfortable, whilst at the same time blocking out any potentially off-putting background. We also see from images 1, 3 and 5 the benefits of placing the subject near a bright window. This adds a nice glow to the image; creating interesting lighting which envelopes the baby in a stream of sunlight. This is yet another tip which I intend to implement when capturing my new-born shoot. From image one, I also noted the importance of possibly getting the parents in the shoot. This is something that I must ask when building my client brief, as each parent will have different wishes.













Children’s photography is also hugely popular among these artists, and they seem to get a lot of business in this genre. They capture documentary style images of children- completely natural and unaware of the camera. This is the candid style that I love, and I intend to implement this whilst capturing my child’s photo shoot. When capturing children, we see the importance of bringing out their personalities. This is especially evident in image three, where the mother was going to give her little boy a kiss, and it doesn’t quite go according to plan! Building a relationship with the subject prior to beginning shooting is, in my opinion, one of the most important aspects of photography. There is nothing worse than having a stressed parent, and therefore a stressed child. All the subjects below were clearly completely relaxed around the photographer, and therefore were able to show their little characters and personalities. For editing purposes, I love the fill layer that the photographer has used in image one to create a dreamy image. This is a technique which I have used previously, and intend to use when editing both potential shoots for my assignment.







Local photographers are just as important to research as famous photographers, as they provide a realistic idea of the photography market, locations and subjects available in your area. Therefore, this was an insightful bit of research which provided me with tips on what is expected when capturing a new-born and child photoshoot for a paying cliental.

(1) Prakel, David (2010), The Fundamentals of Creative Photography, AVA Publishing.

(2-4) PAULA O’HARA (2013), Newborn, Available from: http://www.paulaohara.com/?s=newborn [Accessed 27/06/13]

(5-7) LITTLE MUG (2013), New-born: Lily Chambers, Available from: http://www.littlemug.co.uk/?p=4550 [Accessed 27/06/13]

(8) GRACE PHOTOGRAPHY (2013), The Kinkeads, Available from: http://gracephotographyni.com/the-kinkeads-2/

(9-10) PAULA O’HARA (2013), Robert & Catherine- Mussendon Temple, Available from: http://www.paulaohara.com/2013/04/25/robert-catherine-mussendon-temple/ [Accessed 27/06/13]


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