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Let’s face it. We don’t always have all the time in the world to do a portrait session. Clients run late. The light fades. Opportunity is not always on our side. What happens when you are in a crunch, and the time you have for a session is less than ideal?
Have no fear. With a few techniques and considerations, you can complete a series of Striking portraits in 15 minutes or less. These “mini-sesssions” will not leave you with hundreds of options and variety, but they will give you shots to be proud of.
Find an area that will offer you 3 different locations within 20 feet of each other. For each location, focus on the unique elements that make that area stand out.
[In this area, all my locations were 20 feet away from one another. I choose a small stone bench seat with nature-istic elements in the background; across the street, I choose a small church with a beautiful red door and stone steps; my last location was a pink wall. ]
In theory, you should choose locations that involve different kinds of light. Does the building provide diffused shade? Is the location in contrasty sunlight? Varying light will provide you with dynamically varied images.
[My first location offered me with harsh sunlight, which I used to create a contrasty portrait. The second location shaded my subject from the harsh sun, but provided evenly diffused light from the bright street. My third location was also in the sun, but my subject was turned to the side, shielding her face from the direct sun but providing a hair light from the back.]
Go for 3 types of shots: Wide, mid, and detail. Remember, even though your conducting a mini-session, you still need to produce images that feel complete, artistic, and varied. Using these three kind of shots will yield this result.
A wide shot will set the scene, showing where your subject – full bodied in the frame. A mid shot is typically cropped in a bit more – with torso, head, and shoulders featured. And a detail shot is the “up close” face shot.
Capture all three types of shots in each location. By the time you are finished, you will have at least 9 shots you can count on to be amongst your “finals”.
Challenge yourself to a weekly “Mini-Shoot” with the tips above, and your portrait creativity under time constraints and pressures will explode!