From time to time a book comes out that challenges you to think differently about your portrait photography. To not just think outside the box (which is so cliche), but to really engage your subjects, and to get them to open up, be more of themselves that you're used to seeing (or they're used to showing), and really create some amazing portraiture. Fearless Photographer: Portraits - by Charlotte Richardson* is just such a book. I've added it to my recommended reading list, and encourage you to buy it and check it out.
Charlotte rarely uses Photoshop to composite/fabricate images (and discloses completely whatever may have been done in Photoshop) throughout the book. So, for example, when she places her subjects in a heart-shaped ring of fire - they really are surrounded by fire, not dropped in in post-production. As a photographer for over 20 years, she first trained to "get it right on film", so concepts like "we'll fix it in post-production" are approaches she abhors. Wherever possible, she strives to realize a vision in-camera, not as pieces composed after the fact. The book is a fun and easy read, with practical advice and Charlotte is never afraid to tell you her mistakes as well.
The book, in the end, isn't just a how-to, but also gives you inspiration and encouragement to really engage your subjects, and, yes, be fearless.
Here's an overview of the book and one of the behind-the-scenes videos (below), and after the jump are seven more videos showing behind-the-scenes looks at several chapters of the book.
Fearless Photographer Portaits - Behind the Scenes - Hearts on Fire: Ray and Angel
Fearless Photographer Portraits - Overview
Fearless Photographer Portraits: Behind the Scenes - Chloe Alyce and Lucky
Fearless Photographer Portraits: Behind the Scenes - Preteens: Olivia and the Beach
Fearless Photographer Portraits: Behind the Scenes - Soccer Stars
Fearless Photographer Portraits: Behind the Scenes - Hunter: Rock Star (and cover subject)
Fearless Photographer Portraits: Behind the Scenes - Blaine: A Man with a Message
Fearless Photographer Portraits: Behind the Scenes - Lyndi and Clyde: Beauty Tames a Ton (Literally)
Fearless Photographer Portraits: Behind the Scenes - Agent C's Hot Wheels
* Charlotte is my better half, and I served as a humble assistant to bring her visions (and those of her subjects) to reality. She also cornered me into appearing a few times in the book.
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