When I decided to get back into portrait shooting, I approached it the way I think many other folks approach it — look for attractive & young women in little attire. Let’s face it, those photos get far more attention than any others that I post and, well, I like looking at attractive & young women in little attire. Seemed like a win-win scenario.
Recently, I made the mistake of paying attention to other photographers and heard things which caused me to reconsider my subjects a bit. The first was an interview with Scott Kelby. He mentioned having a portfolio review with someone he respected and shared the feedback during the interview. I may get the quote slightly off, but the gist of it was like so:
I see that you’re good at taking beautiful pictures of beautiful people. Can you take a beautiful picture of an interesting person?
I’m glad he brought up that feedback, because it resonated with me a bit. In fact, it’s changed the way I look for subjects. Now I’ll grant you that Justin in the photo above is still a handsome young man, but he’s not a woman and he’s not scantily clad. For me, this is progress.
The next photographer who reinforced this idea is Zack Arias. I watched an interview he did on TWiT Photo and he shared a project he’s doing with older folks — minimum age was 70, I think. He’s getting environmental shots, or reactions that show their inner child. I watched the show while his images scrolled by and thought “this is pretty cool.”
To be fair, there was another influence lately that I have in mind and it’s due to my recent interest in compositing. I have almost zero interest in sports, but that doesn’t mean I’m not impressed by athletes. That’s still young people who look great, but the context is different. I’m interested because what they do is interesting. It doesn’t hurt that they look good doing it.
None of this means that I’m giving up on scantily clad young women, but I see room for expansion. If every other portrait photographer is out shooting the same young women, kids or senior portraits, then I need to look elsewhere now and then. Good thing Biketoberfest is coming up!