Portrait Photography Essay, Research Paper
The miniature portrait had retained its popularity with all social classes until the middle of the 19th century, when it was replaced by the more intimate and more simply executed technique of photography. The earliest portrait photographers were thoroughly painterly in their approach, since they faced fierce competition from painters. Outstanding from the common run of the early portrait photographers were Mathew Brady, the team of Hill and Adamson, Julia Margaret Cameron, and Thomas Eakins.
In 1955 the museum of Modern Art, New York City, mounted an influential exhibition of photographs entitled The Family of Man. Selected by Steichen from hundreds of thousands of entries from all over the world, it presented a composite visual record, a profound portrait of the human family. Since then photographic portraiture has taken several new directions in the second half of the 20th century.
To be able to be an effective portrait photographer you must first be a people person. Working with all sorts of people day in and day out. You never know whom you are going to be working with and how they will react to you and your techniques. Every photographer has their own technique in this business. (Wendy Alread) You can attend school for this job, which will help you in the long run, but as some photographers find out it isn t always necessary. I never went to school for the career I have now, but that s because I was lucky enough to get a break. (Wendy) Some photographers work for companies and then again some are self-employed. A photographer must be a craftsman and businessman. He must have the technical skills needed for operating the camera and lighting equipment and should be familiar with the exacting process of developing and printing. He must be able to practice his craft profitably, whether as operator of a studio, free-lance worker, or a salaried employee. If the photographer is to gain recognition for his work he must posses creative imagination and taste. Although the line between craft and art in photography is not distinct, there is no doubt the artistry plays a vital role in making original and beautiful photographs.
Photographic training may be obtained in colleges and universities, trade schools, and technical institutes. A number of colleges offer four-year courses with majors in photography leading to B.A. degree. Some require extensive formal training in addition to skills in photography.
Equipment for photography is very expensive. First you have to have your cameras, a wide range of lenses, film, lighting equipment, and the list goes on. Now days Darkrooms are becoming extinct with the modern convenience of one hour processing. It s so much easier to just have your film processed for you. There is only a need for a darkroom for those who like to create. Being as expensive as portrait photography, or any form of photography for that matter is, they make up for it with sitting fees and other fees that they like to occasionally slip in without your attention drawn to it.
Light is the raw material of photography. (Wendy) The basic source of it, is of course the sun. However, the photographer does not always have use of the sun, nor is natural lighting easily controllable. This is why artificial light is, more often than not, used. You can also use the flash on your camera.
Setting up for a photo shoot all depends on who or what you are shooting. If you are shooting a family portrait, then you would want some sort of wholesome or plain background. If shooting a child then a colorful background would be in order. Having a sense of children and their behaviors is always a plus. Having toys or something to keep them occupied and focused is a good thing too.
Portrait photography has changed significantly over the course of time. It went from paintings to photographs. Overall, it is to paint with light.