Portraiture is quickly becoming my favorite genre to shoot, lately I have been focusing myself more on controlled situations. As always, I am but a work in progress, but I like where this work is progressing.

To me, the hardest aspect of portraiture is controlling the situation. The night before a portrait shoot, when I set up my lights and test the various settings I will use the next day, the light is always good. The light can be reproduced. But throw in the subject as variable, and the whole equation becomes skewed. Now I am trying to maintain a dialog with a person I have just met while recreating the perfect light of the night before. I worry that my conversation sounds superficial, while I focus my attention to the light. I worry my light will suffer, while I focus my attention to the conversation. I worry. And I hurry. And I stumble on the loose bricks I never bothered to notice, the night before, while I had that perfect light in my perfectly controlled test.

The question I face is not how to focus the camera, or what ratio to set my lights on. It’s not even how to extract that expression from my subject for which I am aiming, not how to control the people I shoot. No, for me the question becomes how to control myself.

These are a handful of recent portraits that I think worked.

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au_dining_luigis02

au_dining_moes01

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na16_prostate_s1apad

ben03

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So it’s not photo related per se, but in this day of increased media layoffs and more and more freelancer contributors, I think it’s relevant.

Say what you will about the Huffington Post, and its, um, interesting way of gathering news, but you have to admit they have made a brand of themselves. Is that why pro contributors are willing to work for a $200 million-plus company for free? The Chicago Reader (who pays their contributors) did a story on one such pro writer. http://tinyurl.com/7yruqd

Personally, I think working for free is horseshit, but I’d like to see what some of you others think based on this woman’s take on it. A good business move? A way to stay busy in a stagnant economy? A hobby? Is her take even relevant to the photo business?