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5 Min Portrait How To Become A Better Photographer: Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

One of the most important ways to become a better photographer is to step outside of your comfort zone. Now this is much easier said then done but it is something I am personally working on.

The type of photos I capture generally revolve around candid images. In this case I set up a continuos light studio inside my loft to take portraits of my model. This is the furthest thing away from candid and totally out of my every day comfort zone.

CLICK HERE to see all of the full res images from this photo shoot.

Click Here to view all of the FULL RES Images from this photo shoot.

As scary as it may seem to veer out of your normal zone it’s something every photographer should be doing. Sure you may be good at one thing or another but the only way to get better is to experiment. You are shooting digital, you have no film to waste, processing to have done or prints to make. You can simply get out there, shoot, review and shoot some more. That is the leg up you have today over 20 years ago.

Click Here to view all of the FULL RES Images from this photo shoot.

When I set up this 5 Min Portrait is Jenna I knew I wanted to do something different than I normally did. I decided I wanted to shoot continuous light portraits using my keno flows. I set them up in a simple pattern which is very similar to what Peter Hurley does for his head-shots.

One thing you have to keep in mind is you can have the exact same lighting set up as Peter or I, the same camera and settings and not get the same results. I wont get the same results as Peter because I don’t talk to the subject the same way he does as well as seeing the world different. This doesn’t mean I wont capture something that is still amazing. You have to remember that we all see the world different, we interact different and pull out different emotions from our subjects. There is no right or wrong way to do this, just some people do it better than others.

My goal with this shoot was to capture a nice little cross section of images of Jenna. Jenna is not a professional model but has posed for a few photographers in the past. I think she is great in front of the camera and takes direction very well.

With any photo shoot I like to come out with three to five solid keepers regardless of how many images I take or don’t take. Generally speaking you wont get to see the non keepers from most photographers but I chose to share every shot from this 5 Min Portrait. I do that so you can see not just the best shots but the ones that just missed or were so far off base that I never should have let them see the light of day.

Click Here to view all of the FULL RES Images from this photo shoot.

This is all about learning and becoming a better photographer, the only way you get better is to step outside of your comfort zone and practice. There is not shame in not getting the best results when you are trying something new. The only shame is if you don’t try.

With this 5 Min Portrait I only filmed the first part of the shoot. After the initial head-shots were captured I changed up the lights and the scene to allow me to try some other scenarios before finally doing some natural light portraits around the loft. You can see those images in the editing video below.

Editing the 5 Min Portrait

As I have been doing more often after photo shoots like this, I am going to share with you the editing process I went through to get the final images. It is important to remember that this is my style for editing and not everyone will like what I come up with. It’s very important to formulate your style not only in the images you capture but in the way you process them. With that said, there is a lot of information you can take out of this section so please enjoy.

Click Here to view all of the FULL RES Images from this photo shoot.

I also share with you images that I captured after the camera stopped rolling. We kept shooting for another hour or two, trying different lighting setups and poses. One thing I learned from this shoot is that I am not very good with directing the model when it comes to posing. This is something I am not terribly to used to doing. When I am shooting candids I let the model to what they do and capture it. In this setting, I have to tell the model what I am looking for in order to bring that out of them.

On the other hand when you work with a professional model they tend to know how to flow andmove which makes for less work giving direction. That is in no way a knock at Jenna as she did a fantastic job in front of the camera.

Click Here to view all of the FULL RES Images from this photo shoot.

If you would like to view all the full res exports please CLICK HERE.