Creative Fine Art Portraits

Multiple Exposure, 4x5 camera using Polaroid film

Many clients have told me how tired they are of the typical portraits they get from most portrait studios.  They want creative, beautiful and unique images to display on their walls and show to their friends.

Photographers get into the business to create beautiful images, but many quit trying due to how difficult the portrait photography business has become.  

Why is it so hard to find a real creative photographer to create fabulous pictures? The main reason is that most photographers are technicians, not artists. I sometimes give photography and Photoshop lessons to other photographers. 

Many of the people I give lessons to ask about cameras, even memory cards and adding effects with filters on their phone. Many do not want to talk about lighting, ideas, using film or an unique approach.

It is amazing how many people do not seen to have imagination.  I will ask, what are your dreams?  They look at me funny. What dreams they say?  I will ask how they want to photograph a model wearing a pair of jeans?  I get answers like photograph the model by a tree.  

I once suggested that a photographer spend a few minutes to find better locations for his photos.  He said it was too time consuming and probably would not add to a greater income for him. 

Calvin Klein made jeans famous, along with model Kate Moss. Guess Jeans had super models Claudia Schiffer and Anna Nicole Smith.  They created something unique and used it to sell fashion.

Many photographers are caught up in the "high volume" style of photography.  They think that the only way to create pictures is fast and cheap.  I have actually had photographers call me crazy for even buying film for a few dollars. Not to mention the time spent developing the film, scanning it, printing it, retouching, etc. I was told that is profit you are throwing away.

What else is required for great portrait photography.  The photographer must be willing to be different.  I know it's an Apple expression from an ad.  But it's true.

Every person is an individual and they should be trying to express their unique talents. Not just fitting in and creating the same photos as everyone else.

I recently talked to one photographer who was planning to buy a certain camera. I asked why he decided on this particular model. Would it help him create unique images or fulfill his creative vision? No, all his friends had the same camera. Maybe he wanted his pictures to look the same as all the other pictures out there and have his pictures look like the photos his friends took.

Part of why I started to use film again, after years of working with digital cameras was so I could create the pictures that were in my mind.  To create unique photos that expressed the vision I wanted to show my clients. Something more classic, artistic and different.

A few years ago, I had a rather difficult photo session. A prestigious law firm had hired me to create photos for an ad they were planned for a magazine. It involved taking a group photo of about 40 lawyers. Many were older and a few used a cane, walker or wheelchair. 

They also hired a young man to art direct the pictures and be in charge.  When I met him and asked him about his ideas, he told me it didn't matter much. He would apply a "filter" to the pictures.  That's what he did for his own pictures. Luckily the law firm decided not to use a low end filter on an expensive ad. 

How can you find out if a photographer has a vision and if they can create a fine art portrait for you?  Please call and ask some questions. Also please come in to see the photographer in person, if possible. Discuss your ideas, tell the photographer the goal of the pictures, what you will use the photos for and tell them your artistic preferences.