Creating Alluring Portrait Looks and Album Pages That Clients Will Love

February 21, 2017

By Jerry Ghionis

Here’s a scenario we’ve all likely encountered at one time or another: You don’t have much time, you don’t have much gear, you only have one light source and you want to create several saleable looks. Simple, right? Well that’s just it. As photographers, we tend to overthink and complicate things, work too quickly and overshoot. Many photographers I’ve met and taught over the years believe that working at a slow pace may be perceived as a lack of confidence in front of your clients. I actually believe the opposite. Your calm demeanor is exactly what the bride and groom will feed off and is conducive to creating a relaxed environment to achieve the results you’re looking for.

All photos © Jerry Ghionis

Classic Bridal Portrait
This image looks to be quite simple, but the execution of it is more complex. All I needed to illuminate this bride was a window. Taking my cue from all of the classic statutes of a bust, I cropped her under her chest and above her elbow. If I wanted to show her elbow, I would also need to show her whole arm and hand. Although she is already very slim, I made sure that her arm is not pressed against her body—this makes it appear even slimmer. Then I asked her to hide her left elbow to amplify her silhouette. I moved her so that she was on a 45-degree angle to the camera and turned her chin to her outer shoulder. This gives her (and the image) a more feminine feel. I believe that once you turn a face on an angle, you must hide the ear that is furthest away from the camera. Ears should be “all in” or “all out.” I turned her body away from the light and turned her face back into the light—that gives her body and face a more defined shape, depth, dimension and form. The catch lights in her eyes draw your attention to her delicate, but confident, look into the camera. She stood several feet away from the background so at f/3.5, the background, would be out of focus but still visible. The colors of the drapes don’t distract your attention from the bride but complement her skin tone and hair color. Also, notice how I cropped into her hairline and how that blends the different backgrounds to the left and right of her.

Camera: Nikon D4s
Lens: 70-200mm f2.8
Focal Length: 90mm
ISO: 800
Aperture: f3.5
Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec

Featuring One But Including Two
Here’s a different way of using two existing light sources in your environment. Although the groom occupies more space in the frame, the viewer’s attention is held on the bride as the light on her lighter skin tone is brighter than the groom’s. This is a good example of using both bride and groom together but featuring the bride.

Camera: Nikon D4s
Lens: 70-200mm f2.8
Focal Length: 185mm
ISO: 1000
Aperture: f4.5
Shutter Speed: 1/160 sec

Album Page Ideas
In the photo below and also in the photo gallery you’ll see examples of how a simple change of crop, pose and expression can then give us a completely new spread of the album.  I didn’t actually take many more images at this location than what you see here. Overall, I took fewer images but all of them were saleable and were conducive to be sold as spreads in an album. I try to make every shot count. I also encourage you to design the pages of the album as you shoot. Once you take the first shot at a new location, think about the next photograph that would complement it in an album spread and match its mood, sensibility and color palette.

Jerry Ghionis is a renowned photographer and USA Nikon Ambassador who has won more awards than any other photographer at WPPI, where he became the first Grand Master. Starting in March 2017, Jerry reignites his “What Would Jerry Do?” series for Rangefinder

To read this article in the digital edition, click here.

CreativeLive Video Tutorial: Shoot and Design Wedding Albums, by Yervant

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