All posts tagged portrait

As a photographer usually you have a certain “area of expertise”.
I used to think that I was a nature photographer. I still am, but when I did the Summer Intensive with RMSP back in 2008 I discovered that I’m not solely that. I’m much more. Nature is still a big part of my portfolio, but I’ve been cursed (or blessed?) with a 3rds grid and viewfinder marks in my eyes. Most of the times I’m looking around seeing in everything a potential picture. Slightly annoying sometimes, but it’s also made me so much more aware of what’s happening around me.
I’ve shot a wide range of topics. Studio, industrial, journalistic, and even portraits (I’ve met with the Finnish President for a commissioned shoot and I have a few of his pictures in my portfolio! How many can really say that? πŸ™‚ ). I shoot a cracking portrait, when I get the opportunity. The downside is, believe it or not, I’m shy. I tend to think I’m social, I have no problem whatsoever interacting with people, but for me to shoot a good portrait I need to be acquainted with that person.

Awhile back I came across Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York via a friend who hinted me about it. Don’t ask me why I hadn’t heard of it before. It’s a great project. And it seemed like a great thing to do. Just doing portraits of random people on the street.
There was a big but there, though. I’m shy.
Just going up to a perfect stranger and asking if I could take a picture… That is so far out of my comfort zone that I could image doing it. But… I may be shy, but I’m also totally into new challenges, and I’m totally into stepping out of my comfort zone.
And so, inspired by Humans of New York, with two great friends and fellow photographers I started the project we named “Humans Captured”.

Humans Captured LogoIt’s basically the same principle, only we didn’t want to strictly limit ourselves to one city, since we’re travelers and we’re in different places all the time.
We’re just shooting where we are and where we see people.
I’ve been experiencing some “start-up” problems of my own. It takes a whole different level and a whole different kind of courage to just walk up to someone and ask if you can take their picture. It’s one of those irrational “fears”, I’m totally aware of it, and it’s ridiculous, and I will get over it, but it takes a tad bit of time and getting accustomed. And really… what’s the worst that can happen (apart from being beat up if you run into the wrong person πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ )? You get a “no” or “get lost” or something like that…
Owwell… It’s not a life rejection in any case.
Sofar the people I’ve shot were very sympathetic and forthcoming, and that gives you courage.

Let’s see where this will go.

Here’s a little teaser:

Super Mario

Super Mario

I’m not going to put a whole lot of pictures up here (there aren’t yet SO many, but posting every day will change that quickly πŸ˜‰ ). If you want to see more, go ahead and visit the Facebook groupΒ or the blog.

Facebook LogoΒ  https://www.facebook.com/HumansCaptured


Humans Captured LogoΒ  http://www.humanscaptured.com


And don’t forget to like us on your way in (or out) πŸ™‚

For several years I’ve been subscribing to Practical Photographer, a UK photography magazine. They do a Photographer of the Year competition every year, and in 2009 my tiger (yeah, that one πŸ˜‰ ) was runner-up in round 7 (the Natural World) of the competition. This year I entered one of my favorite portraits into the portrait round (round 2) of the competition.

1 in 1000 Portrait

D700, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/2, Nikkor 50mm

It was shortlisted out of about 1,500 entries. In the end it didn’t win, but I was already very happy it got this far (how could it not, anyway? She’s such a lovely, pretty girl! πŸ™‚ ).
It was published in the August 2011 issue of Practical Photography.

The opinions of the judges can be viewed in the online video. I’m in around 2:27.

My friend also brought his companion. The sweetest dog, crazy about bananas. Yep, really!
And such a good and patient model. As a reward she got to walk around in the sun and through the forest the whole day! πŸ™‚


D700, ISO200, 1/320 sec @ f/11, Tamron 90mm macro, on-camera (fill) flash

ClichΓ© #483,207:


D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/9.5, Nikkor 50mm

So this would be the guy’s world of oblivion, Day 12. But… This is really not oblivion, and it’s not really day 12 either, since I shot these already last month, but most of all: these just deserve a better name than a generic Day + number. Tomorrow will be Day 13 again, but first:

Word goes around in photography land that maybe one out of every thousand images is a great image.
There might be some truth in that, although among of every thousand images, I’m quite sure that there are a whole lot of good ones, at least I think that’d be the case with me. Now… that may sound very pompous, and oh yeah, I have sessions where everything just goes down the drain and I have to spend more time than I want trying to salvage things in Photoshop, but one thing I’ve learned down the line is that you can’t make a good picture out of a mediocre picture, no matter how good you are with Photoshop.

Earlier this year I did a few blog posts with pictures of our godson, and especially this one was one of those images that turned out (I think) really beautifully. Mommy came over with our godson when her husband was stuck somewhere in southern Europe right around the time the volcano in Iceland had erupted. It was one of those moments where I caught him just sitting there, or actually, not just sitting there, but trying to get rid of his diaper πŸ˜€ But anyway… I quickly did a couple of tweaks to the RAW file in PS, converted it to black and white, and gave mommy the prints home. She was all happy, and of course I was, too, that she was, and it’s now framed and hanging in their place, I’m proud to say πŸ™‚

Now… mommy has a whole lot of mommy-friends and they all liked this picture so much that mommy arranged a mommies-day with me hanging around. I was dreading the day. I haven’t been around that many kids in that age group at the same time probably since I was that age, but it was a great experience. A very tiring one, too (respect to all the mommies for doing this on a daily basis!!).

I’m not the type of photographer who puts angels’ wings on a baby, or a little tiara on the head or tries to get a kid to laugh at the camera, which they seldom do at the right moment. I’m more for just letting the kids do their thing and catch them when they are happy doing what they are doing, and are naturally happy. It takes a lot more effort, a lot more time, and a lot more energy, and the outcome isn’t always 100% guaranteed, but the result is so much more rewarding when you do get the right shot.

And that leads me back to the line I started with.
“Remember it, and remember it well”, our teacher in RMSP said, “the good photographers know when NOT to take a shot.” Not saying I’m such a good photographer, but I NOT shot a lot of pictures that day πŸ˜€ I also DID shoot a good number of pictures; nowhere close to a thousand, which according to the line I started with pretty much downed my score of good images. But no… I did get a few really nice shots…

Of course our godson, but that’s not so difficult, because he just IS the cutest ever (I might be a tad bit biased πŸ˜‰ )


D700, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/2, Nikkor 50mm

But he wasn’t the only cute kid on the block this day…

1 in 1000 Portrait

D700, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

1 in 1000 Portrait

D700, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

1 in 1000 Portrait

D700, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

But what I didn’t realize, not until I got home and started processing the pictures, was that I really did get my 1 in 1000. I got about 10% good pictures out of the day’s session, which is a very good result, I think. But this was the best of the day, my 1 in 1000…

1 in 1000 Portrait

D700, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/2, Nikkor 50mm

Thanks to mommy for organizing this day with all the mommy-friends. And thanks to the mommy-friends for bringing the kids! It was awesome!

All you need is a dinner table, a willing family member, an Ikea light and a camera. Et voilΓ .

Butterfly lighting

D700, ISO3200, 1/125 sec @ f/4.8, Nikkor 50mm

So I did a couple of those, here and there. You saw a few posts ago the ones I did in Portland, and quite a while back the ones of our own cats. And they keep on being a source of inspiration.
They’re a pair of silly, and curious beings, that surprise you all the time with the funkiest stuff, or the weirdest positions, or whatever… One of their favorite spots is on the light on the aquarium, because it’s warm and nice, and they just squeeze up behind a flower pot which is standing there. And when we’re sitting at the dining table having breakfast, you get these kinds of peek-a-boo moments when they hear or smell something…


D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm, off-camera SB-800

Russian Blue

D700, ISO1600, 1/90 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

So yeah, it’s been awhile…
Things have been stupidly busy.
Oh, and I’ve been on holiday.
Oxymoron, right? πŸ˜‰

I won’t bother you with a day-to-day photo-thingy like I did with the Canaries, but there are some pictures you should see.

When we were in Portland, our host there was the proud owner of two gorgeous cats. Having two cats myself, I just couldn’t help myself…

D700, ISO400, 1/320 sec @ f/6.7, Nikkor 50mm 1.4, on-camera flash

D700, ISO400, 1/320 sec @ f/6.7, Nikkor 50mm 1.4, on-camera flash

D700, ISO1600, 1/125 sec @ f/2.4, Nikkor 50mm 1.4

D700, ISO1600, 1/125 sec @ f/2.4, Nikkor 50mm 1.4