Practice 15

Someone you treasure

A lovely assignment
Move your subject next to a window
Keep talking as you shoot
Choose an important person in your life for this practice. Ask for 10 minutes or more if you have time to shoot their portrait. A portrait is a photograph of a person comfortably looking at the camera or away from it. It can be extremely informal or not. Your subject can be smiling, serious or just looking at the camera. It can be a good friend, your love, a member of your family, a teacher or mentor. The nature of the friendship doesn’t matter, what does matter is how positively you feel about the person. Take those three slow breaths in and out before you begin, and absolutely, during all people assignments, turn your phone into airplane mode. Please remember, this assignment is not about how pretty or handsome your subject may be.
More than likely, the qualities you admire most in people are those that are more than skin deep. As you work, keep those qualities in mind. Don’t worry if your photos don’t vividly reveal the things you appreciate about your subject today. The more time you spend photographing people in this way, staying totally focused not just with your camera, but every part of your being, you will see those qualities you are appreciate in your pictures. Being fully present with a person has gifts that are far greater than making a good photo.

Consider working outside or inside near a window where the light is more interesting. Once you’ve positioned your subjects in a good place, move around them and shoot. Ask them to look at you and take several shots. Then ask them to look away and take more.
You'll make better photographs if you can make your subject feel relaxed. Their expressions will brighten if you catch their interest. Do not ask your subject to say cheese or worse, to smile. If you want them to smile, say something funny or endearing. It never hurts to compliment a person if it is something you genuinely feel. The more relaxed and comfortable you are, the more natural and relaxed your subject will be. While you are shooting think about what you like them. Chances are they’ll know what you feel about them just from the look on your face, even if the camera is blocking their view. Say thank you.