• James Wayling

Questioning my Portraiture Photography Studio Practices

Portraiture Practices (Studio and Location) – Self Evaluation

Practices in Portraiture photography

Current Portraiture photography – Practices and Studio based with a Digital and Analogue Camera

Practice with Digital photography from early 2017 to early 2018, preparing and testing the lighting, composition and theme to explore and further within outcome I’m looking for or want to emphasis.


The processing mind of the Portraiture of Mark O’Connor:

  • Influence by Terence Donovan’s method in reading the characteristic and nature of the model/subject through the gaze and human body action, to describe the narrative within the photograph.

  • Lighting and Composition relates to the style and influence of David Bailey, an interesting portraiture photographer through the lighting side of photography than reading the subject’s mood and charactistics through the shot. But can create the moods through lighting in the background or on the subject’s face.

  • Favourite Lighting technique which I used is Rembrandt lighting, as it demonstrates a heavy dramatic mood within the image, by describing the serious but atmospheric feeling within the photograph, which David Bailey shows within his work within the studio, although within the art of street photograph to get Rembrandt is more complex and somewhat difficult to explore due to the angle, positioning and timing to find the photograph.

  • Human gaze: Big topic when it comes to male and female perspective in photography, which seems no big deal if photographer can understand the human emotion and body language of the subject and combine it artistically into the lighting atmosphere (which seems better than exploring and capturing the human gaze within my point of view).

  • For the outcome for the Image: Use for professional profile or personal profile on a social media platform.

  • Practices towards my project within music and portraiture photography idea, helping me evaluate and predict what type of photography I want to create within a narrative.

  • Black and White: More meaningful and deeply relatable to portraiture photographers within both location and studio based influence, plus colour is quite distracting and overused a lot within portraiture photography. Also understanding the affects black and white affecting the lighting of the image, imagining the ways how analogue photographer problems and solutions to solve.

The self-evaluation of my practices within Portraiture photography:


When practicing the art of portraiture, there are so many concepts and meaning towards the photograph, that many photographers, artists and viewer predictable and assuming nature within this type of photography, going into a mixture of debates and meaningful nature, feeling more about words and representation than a passion or emotion of enjoyment within photography which makes photography as a subject lose it touch, within self-perspective when exploring photography throughout portraiture.

The self-perspective of portraiture follows the style of street photography but in a more simpler notion and meaning towards it, by reading and interacting with the person (the word subject/model seems to sound rude/non-human when photography a person within portraiture photography) looking for a narrative or story through the expression of the person’s facial expressions, body language and eyes telling the mood and character of the person within the photograph, with the support of artificial lighting and background colour and settings to emphasis the meaning of emotion towards photography. Using my character and emotion describe the notion of feeling with the camera, describe what self is explaining than the use of words and paragraphs to cover my true motives within self-photography, which some don’t understand or read when considering the photograph’s meaning.

Methods of how photographers explore portraiture, can be driven and influence by the characteristic and nature of the photographer and subject within the shot, ‘a photographer making a portrait is driven by two powerful forces: His own creative approach and the personality of his subject,’ demonstrating the human interaction can discover and express the way the person within the photograph feels and express, but it can also display the creativeness of the photographer’s influences, ideas and thinking, can also inspire an meaningful narrative towards the portrait in methods which can’t be explain with words and paragraphs but with imagery instead. Similar to how a painting explaining the mood and nature of the artists, through brush strokes, colour and patterns.

Overall from the self-practice of portraiture photography, this was a method and experimental practice of understanding and reading the subject when taking a photograph for self-final project idea and plans to get the notion in rolling than waiting or planning late. Although the project could be exploring musicians and portraiture, some ideas and plans can backfire or not work, so the plan B will be exploring portraiture of people – reading the character and nature of the subject.


References: The Camera, Life Library of Photography. Hardcover. 1975. p. 40



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