Relationship Portraits... What's that all about?

When I first got into portrait photography, the images with the most appeal for me were the ones where I could see a lot more than just a person in the image.  There was a story, a feeling, a connection.  If there was a single person, I knew what that person did or what she might be thinking or why she was there, wherever “there” was.  Why that man was smiling, or NOT smiling.  If it was an image of a family, I can sense who that family was; who’s the rascal, who’s the student, who’s the boss.  You know?  Those were the kinds of images I wanted to create.  “Taking” a picture is boring and selfish.  Creating something that doesn’t exist is at the heart of a true portrait artist. When it comes to photography, one of my inspirations, one of my heroes is Dave Junion (  This guy doesn’t think outside the box, he exists there.  He is all about the creation.  Same-ol’, Same-ol’ need not apply.  And just when you kind of get where he’s going, he does a 180… I love (hate) that.  But that’s what really separates the true artist’s and the followers, right.  Dave pushes his subjects to do the stuff that they want to do, but they don’t know it, yet.  They’re hesitant so he pushes and WHAM!... there’s the relationship.  I’m so envious of his confidence, but I’m working my way there.

I’m working my way in that direction because I think most of my clients want that; something original and different.  Are there any new ideas out there?  Not according to Bob Dylan, but he’s kind of stodgy.  Incredibly cool, but stodgy.  When I work with new clients, someone that I’ve never met before, I think that it’s up to me to pull something out of them and get them to emote so that make an original for them.  Is Black & White “original”?  Of course not.  But for someone who’s never had a great portrait made, it can be a truly original experience, and that counts for me.

I love relationship portraits.  I have from the beginning.  Most people do, even if they don’t know why.  Now you do!