“The Emotive Portrait” – the class

The class description was to learn to shoot the Anti-Sears Portrait. Cheryl, the original teacher, is famous for this but now we have another teacher. How would he accomplish this?
Since the class had a range of skill levels, from experienced to shooting with the lens cap on and wondering why the pictures were soooo dark, Bruce started out by reviewing camera useage while moving and seeing.
It can take a while for some people to understand something, especially when they constantly defend their actions instead of listening to the instructor explain why it was not the best way to do it and how to remedy the situation.

The Manual setting on cameras is ludicrously foreign to most people who consider themselves to be good photographers. The problem is, it’s the only way, short of using reflector cards or portable strobe, to balance light on a face and keep the contrast and dimensionally without blowing out the highlights or blocking up the shadows. This is coupled with using the in camera histogram to determine where the highlights and shadows are falling and adjust the exposure.

I would get questions about why someone can’t get a meter reading and notice their camera was set at f18 + 1/250sec . (A tough start to use inside a dark blacksmithing studio.) It’s interesting to watch photographers attempting to do this while also watching their framing and their subjects.

The concentration shifted from exposure compensation to framing your photograph. Framing, looking at the corners along with the subject, is something view camera users are very familiar with while 35mm camera users aren’t quite as easy a time with their little screens. It requires concentration, before and during the taking the shot.

Bruce constantly mentioned the need to become familiar with the camera to prevent confusion and reduce the photographers fear factor. You can see how the agitation quickly grew when a photographer got outside their circle of comfort with their camera. Constantly challenging them to shot, shoot, shoot, project after project, yielded familiarity that was visible in both their actions and results of their actions.

The class finished up with a printing session that ran into the night on Sunday continued on until Monday afternoon. I’ll post some examples of their work & the class working in a few days.

About whyphotograph

Photographer, computerist, slayer of Dragons Head of Photography for AWSchmitt Ltd. producing Creative, Illustrative Photography for your needs. ( www.awschmitt.com ) Formally Head of Photography, Peters Valley Center For Crafts, Layton, NJ (www.petersvalley.org)
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