Forget Mugshots, Make Stronger Portraits
Someone recently referred to me as their “favourite Canadian landscape photographer.” It made me laugh. How did this happen? I make portraits, don’t I? I mean, landscape photographers are nuts. They carry too much gear, use tripods so large you’d think they might be compensating for something, and they’re known for keeping strange hours. I never intended this. Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a landscape photographer! It’s true, my work has, over the last two years, been taking some interesting zig-zags, and I’m photographing more of the natural world than ever these days. Despite that, my first love is still the portrait. Making photographs of people still gives me a rush and a sense of doing something intimate and important that landscapes don’t. My latest book is an effort to help people feel that and to make portraits they’re proud of.
Forget Mugshots, 10 Steps To Better Portraits, is a 35-spread course in improving your people photography. I always laugh when the odd review comes back with sage comments like, “there’s nothing new here.” No, there isn’t. Of course there isn’t. And anyone who pretends to teach “new secrets” is just after your buck. I’m not telling you which aperture to use, or letting you in on some new technique that no one else knows and will rock your world. It’s sound teaching about the priorities, thoughts, and techniques I’ve used to create portraits of people at home and around the world. It’s the “if I could teach you only ten things to focus on when making portraits and people photographs, what would those be?” book.
You know I’ve never tried to hard-sell my books. They aren’t for everyone. For example, if you don’t want to hear that the single most important skill in creating stronger people photographs is a relational skill, then this book isn’t for you. I don’t care how luscious your bokeh, if you can’t connect in some way to a subject, your work will not be as strong as it could. If you aren’t willing to wait for great moments, learn to recognize a true smile from a fake one, or abandon your insistence that “the 85mm lens is the best portrait lens” then you probably don’t want to hear my take on this stuff. But if you’re willing to hear me out, and engage in the Creative Exercises that accompany each lesson, your portraits will get stronger. I’ve used this set of priorities and considerations, the 10 so-called steps, in my assignment work around the world, and if I can do it, so can you.
Forget Mugshots won’t make the process of making portraits less scary, but it will help you make stronger people photographs. It’s available today as a PDF for only $4 for the first five days. See below for details. And if you’re a member of the Craft & Vision Community, listen for the next podcast, because Matt Brandon and I are planning to spend it telling stories and talking about this very topic, including more tips and tricks.
Special Offer on PDFs
For the next five days only, use the promotional code MUGSHOTS4 when you checkout so you can have the PDF version of Forget Mugshots for only $4 OR use the code MUGSHOTS20 to get 20% off when you buy 5+ PDF eBooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST March 17, 2012.