Portrait Perfect

It isn’t every day that photographers ranging from top industry leaders to amateurs gather in the same place to learn and share ideas, but when it happens, Henry’s calls it Portrait Perfect. I had the opportunity to attend this incredibly enlightening event and was so impressed by the quality of information and intrigue of the presentations, I wanted to share the top three things I learned throughout the day.

1. Rules are great, but they are truly meant to be broken.

Life is dominated by rules and really, that should never be the case with art. That said, there are some basic rules that can lead you in the right direction when designing and creating an image. You’re probably already familiar with the top ones like the trusted Rule of Thirds, for example. But while positioning a subject’s eyes 1/3 of the way down from the top of the frame is a great way to add visual interest to any portrait, the fact of the matter is it’s actually breaking the rules that can set your image apart from other photographers’ work. So while rules are important (and it’s always best to learn them before you bend them), developing your own style is paramount. Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to play with the rules, and yes, sometimes often even break them.

2. Like any trade, planning is more than half the battle.

One of the aspects of Lindsay Adler’s presentation on designing images which really stuck with me was her insistence that planning is key. With a talent like hers, I really thought she could basically just show up with her high-quality pro gear and exceptionally fine-tuned skills and just make the magic happen. Apparently that isn’t how it works.

Lindsay noted that when she is presented with a new request from a client, the wheels immediately start to turn. What is the purpose of the shoot? Who is the audience? What is the feeling that they are looking to generate with this image? Once she narrows in on those important elements, she is able to build the concept up from there.

3. Colour matters, but it’s all in the pose.

It was incredible to see how the jut of a hip or the tilt of a chin can change an image so dramatically. As Lindsay repositioned her models, she reiterated that photography is based on visually-appealing lines, and in the fashion world, using the curves of her models allows her to explore those lines to produce very different effects. By tilting the chin upwards and elongating the neck, the subject becomes gazelle-like through the lens and the entire vibe of the image evolves into something new. Don’t be afraid to play with the positioning of the model (and don’t forget they need a rest too!)

There were, of course, many other remarkable teachings on subjects ranging from lighting by Jim Ogilvie, to the inside scoop on the business behind fashion photography, and tons of great tips for every level of photographer. Not only was I incredibly impressed by the clarity and concise nature of the presentations, having the opportunity to ask Lindsay and some of the other presenters questions, was truly a highlight for me. Einstein said the only source of knowledge is experience. I can’t recommend this event enough – there really are few experiences that leave you feeling as inspired and excited about photography as this!

A Happy Portrait Perfect Attendee

For upcoming Portrait Perfect dates and locations, visit: www.henrys.com/PortraitPerfect

Henry’s has long been known in the Canadian photographic industry as the source for the best and newest products, informed Imaging Experts, award-winning customer service and competitive pricing. Henry’s, a family owned and operated business, first opened its doors in 1909 and has evolved into Canada’s largest independent photographic and digital retailer.