Many photographers believe that landscape photography is easier than portraiture. They often say that portraiture is more difficult because the subject is usually sitting in front of a background.
Portrait Photography vs Landscape Photography – Which Way to Go?
A few years ago I was approached by a client asking me to photograph a family portrait. When she went to choose the photos online she found it was quite difficult to find a company that did portraits, especially when it came to kids! She asked me where we were located and said that she would bring her two young kids with her. I had my doubts as to whether we would get any decent results but it’s always good to have a challenge.
We were fortunate to find an empty room in one of the rooms in our studio and were able to set up the shoot. The family arrived 15 minutes later. They looked so lovely. We started the session and immediately I knew something was wrong as they started talking to each other and not to me.
I felt really uncomfortable and suggested that we try to have another look at the photo. They agreed and then started talking to each other again. In fact, they became even louder! What were they saying? I couldn’t understand what they were saying as they were speaking in a foreign language! At that point I realized that I needed to switch on the English subtitles on the computer screen. It took a bit of time for them to calm down and then they started having a nice chat.
At this point I realized that I was going to have to use a different approach. Rather than taking pictures of the family I decided to spend time with them. I wanted to get to know them, talk to them and listen to them. I knew that I wanted to be close to them, be with them and capture their personalities. I wanted to capture their natural behavior and let the camera do the talking.
The result was absolutely fabulous. I was able to get some really intimate images and show the warmth in the relationship between the mother and the daughter. After the session, I spoke to the family and asked how they thought it went. They were all thrilled and told me it was the most amazing experience they’d ever had.
I am a portrait photographer and I prefer to work in a studio rather than on location. However, the above experience has shown me that sometimes it’s important to be outside. Working on location is an interesting challenge. You don’t know what is going to happen and you are always on edge.
I’ve found that the key to working on location is preparation. Before the shoot you need to have made sure the lighting is right, the equipment is working properly and that you know what settings to use. If you are doing portraiture outdoors you need to have a plan for dealing with the light and wind. It’s no good standing in the shade for five hours waiting for the sun to move.
It’s very important to be organized. If you are not, you will just add to the stress of the situation and make it more difficult for yourself. It’s not as hard as you think it is.
Landscape photography is also easier than you might think. I’ve worked on a number of projects that have taken place outdoors. I’ve also taken a lot of pictures of my family in our garden.
Photographing a family is a challenge as it’s usually a mixture of people who are excited, relaxed and nervous. In order to capture the best image it’s important to understand the different ways in which they behave and the reasons for their actions.
As a portrait photographer, I prefer to use a studio to get a clean, uncluttered image. But, I also use a studio when working on location. It can be a great way of getting a feel for a location without the distractions of having to deal with lots of people.
Having said that, I have done plenty of portraiture outside and have come away with some fantastic images.
To sum up, both landscape photography and portraiture can be enjoyable.