The secret ingredient to a great portrait. 

 June 26, 2010

By  Pascal Depuhl

I am a commercial photographer. I don’t shoot the portrait session with the 4 wallets and the 5×7. I shoot mostly models, i.E.people that have been hired to represent the company, fashion line or product that we’re shooting. Often there is a crew of art directors, fashion stylists, hair and make-up artists, clients, assistants, product stylists, prepers, caterers, …

However I have been getting more and more requests lately to photograph people for the people themselves, where the person is the hero of the shot and everything else becomes secondary. This genre of photography requires you to take photos of the person that’s being featured. You can’t use a stock shot for this. It needs to be this human being that has to be in front of your lens.

Grammy award winning producer, composer and conductor Julio Reyes.

Take for example this environmental portrait of Julio Reyes, the grammy award winning producer for Mark Anthony. Julio had asked me to photograph a recording session a few months ago and I had a great time documenting 35 musicians laying down a beautiful track for the new album. Mr. Reyes had asked me to photograph him for his media collateral at that point and we got our schedules lined up a few weeks ago to shoot in his sound studio. So what’s the secret ingredient that you always need for a great portrait?

(find out after the jump)

The secret ingredient of a great portrait is trust; of course you need to be technically skilled, able to adjust to always changing situations – after all you’re not shooting in your studio, where you control everything, but you’re shooting in someones home, office, locations that usually have a lot of restrictions from time constraints to limited space. It’s challenging, but when you pull it off it’s rewarding.

Photographing someone on their turf may take you out of your comfort zone, but it puts them right in theirs. And the viewer will see this in your photograph.

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Pascal Depuhl

Miami product photographer, video producer, cinematographer and chief mindchanger at Photography by Depuhl I love to share the knowledge I've gained over the past two decades. Catching light in motion.