The headshot is the purest and most distilled form of portraiture for me because it is all about bringing out a natural expression. It is a study of light and composition where the smallest details matter. It is deceptively simple but takes years to master. The way in which I coach a client and the resulting emotion I am able to capture is the foundation that all my other portraits are built upon.
I keep in the back of my mind as I am shooting one simple question, “Who are you?” My task is to see the face behind the face, to get past the uncertainty when someone first gets in front of my camera and encourage authentic expression. I recognize it when I see it—in subtle changes in their eyes from a fleeting thought, in their body language, and through movement in dance. That magical moment when they first emerge is when the session truly begins.
Portraits have the power to change the way people see themselves. The process can be cathartic. I’ve seen people laugh and cry as it brings up deep memories that form self image. Other times it is just fun. The most successful portrait sessions are when the photographs are a byproduct of a positive experience.