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  • Grace Williamson

Why I Love... Portrait Photography

Portrait photography is the reason I got into photography. It began when I was at University and I bought my first professional camera - Panasonic Lumix G2 - which I chose because it had a screen that could flip out.

I didn't know much about photography then, and I remember wondering if I'd made a mistake in buying such an expensive camera (over £600!). But then I went to a flat party and started snapping away and testing the automated settings (black and white, bright colours etc) and adored it. Of course, the photos are terrible!

I discovered the black and white setting!

This was the Colour Pop setting or something. Waaaaay too cartoony!

Look how cool we were!

However, it was the start of what is now a passion of mine. I began really just with happy snaps hardly worth using a professional camera for, but as I experimented and learned about shutter speed, aperture, and off camera flash my love for portraits grew.

I invested in a home studio kit, better lenses, tripods, speedlights, wireless triggers... And used my friends a lot to pose for me! My friend Spunj being my most frequent model was more than happy to help.

At the time I thought the photos were great, but looking back they really are awful. See below!

I was really pleased at the time with this lighting, however it is horrendous! Blue toned, shadows on backdrop, overexposed

This one was better, but the falloff from the reflected background light made her edges soft, and yet I still didn't manage to make the background wholly white

This was my best effort. I managed to balance my front and back lights, and get the exposure right. Funny how I'm not that into studio lighting now!

I moved to more natural lighting, mainly because I did not have the space for a studio setup! I find locations to be more interesting, and more useful for me to practice as I moved more towards wedding photography.

So what is it about portrait photography that I love?

Well, it's personal to everyone. I get to capture moments of someone's life. In candid photos they show true emotion, but even in posed photography I still encapsulate a point in their life. They would look back on that image and remember how they felt (hopefully enjoying themselves!), what they were wearing, why they were there. It's the memories that they associate with the photo that makes portrait photography such fun to do.

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