by Ibarionex R. Perello
© Ibarionex Perello
All rights reserved
Making a good portrait is so much more than making the subject “look good”. Perfectly lit and heavily retouched images can be wonderful when done well. But if the photo is only about the person’s physical appearance, I am left less than enthused about the end result. A good portrait reveals something of the person’s personality. It provides a glimpse of the person. It hopefully provides an intimate revelation of some inner truth.
For my portrait of my friend, Charles, I was first conscious of the light and the background. Bad lighting and a poor choice of background can ruin an image and so I knew I wanted to get these two things right so I could focus on something more important.
It was a partly-cloudy day in Capitola and the light was ideal for a portrait. The diffused light became a virtual giant softbox, which offered bright and even illumination without harsh shadows. The next concern was finding a simple background, as I wanted to ensure that there would be no distracting elements to compete with Charles’ face. I found the perfect background in a large green tarp covering some boats. As well as providing a clean background, the tarp’s color really complimented the color of his cap and skin, producing a nice dynamic to the shot.
Yet, it was the expression that I was after. As we talked and joked around, I kept shooting frame after frame, anticipating that one telling moment that would capture the passionate and intense spirit that I have seen him exhibit over the years. Suddenly, it happened and he erupted into laughter and I held down the shutter release button firing several shots in rapid succession.
I continued shooting; including some images without him wearing the sunglasses, but it was this moment that captured a particular quality of Charles’ personality. Even though you can’t see his eyes behind the glasses, his face reveals so much.
A single image can never provide a comprehensive definition of a subject, but when it’s successful it provides a small insight into what makes a person special and human.