I haven't really been that interested in portrait photography, in truth I've never really felt that i could do it justice, it's a hard hard thing to get right, I think anyway.
It's not just about getting the lighting or the mood or sharpness or anything like that, it's about getting the story across of the image and making people wonder about the person in the image and about their story, that is hard.
In a bid to break out the camera which hasn't really been out in anger in a while and a chance to push myself with something I little different I went a long to a day's workshop run by a friend, Scott Fowler all about Nik Software, Black & White photography and of course one of Scott's passions Portraits, all of which I'd say are not my strong point, but hey, you need to learn!
Well what a great day was had and some great images made, not all B&W , I had to have a little colour
in there as well but a lot of Black & White. Scott had organised a great location and a couple of great models for us to work with, just as well really since they really helped.
The images have by and large been processed through Nik's Colour Exfex 2 & Silver Efex 2 for the black and white and I have to say having never really used them before I left the day being pretty impressed by the power that they have and results that they produce can be startling.
I bought the whole Nik Collection just a few months ago after it was recommended, I tend to use OnOne's Perfect Photo Suite for any post processing work outside of lightroom or Photoshop and I'm glad I did I'm really impressed with the power of the software, the detail it can pull out of an image is just incredible.
That said, I think there is definitely still room in my workflow for the Photosuite for a whole range of images and I think actually that's one of the things I've got out of the session, another tool for the tool box so I've now got another choice when looking at an image on how I'm going to process it.
As I said I haven't really done much Portrait work as i didn't really enjoy it, mostly because i didn't think I could make it work, I'm glad I challenged myself and I think I came away with some images that really do work and really do engage the viewer and make them think what's going on here, what's their story.
I felt sorry for the models I have to say, it was a cold day and they posed and hung around for a few hours while a bunch of photographers shouted look here or look there, can you stand like this, can you walk over here and even when we ran out of idea's they came up with their own which was great.
After the shooting it was back to Scott's for a hot cuppa and some lessons on driving NIK. NIK sits on top of Photoshop and gives you a huge amount of filters or processing techniques to post process your image, all of the images I shoot are done in RAW to get the most amount of detail out of the image, to date i thought I was doing OK, now I know I was scratching the surface.
I'd always been looking at Black and White images just as tones, and shooting it thinking Black & White, then wondering why I wasn't happy with my images. One of the tips we got was to shoot and think colour image, if it's not a great colour image, it's not going to be a great Black and white image. When you think about it, it does make perfect sense and I don't know why it's never hit me before, but isn't that they way with things, it's only obvious if you know!
For me though I still love colour, even just a hint but I'm learning to love B&W as well and I know I'm going to have to stick at it and keep pushing till I get that great image that I'm happy with.
In the mean time why don't you check out some of the images from that day in the Portrait Gallery.