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Confidence to shoot your portraits

The first portrait session I shot was with an old friend I have here in Moscow named Elena. I had just bought my EOS and I had never shot any series of photos exclusively focused in portraying people. I had a cheaper but no worse camera before, which I used only to shoot landscape, places, take selfies, shoot videos and lately when I went to the summer camp in the year of 2017 I did take some portraits on it but they were mixed with other bunch of photos framing all kinds of subjects and situations. When I purchased my EOS I was convinced that I wanted to learn and become a photographer and make a decent profit out of my passion. So, Elena was (and still is) an ideal model that I could invite to help me with that, we marked to meet and we made on that day several photos. I had a purely instinctive and unread way to frame her and every tip she gave me was clear and helpful but on the other hand all that new stuff was showing me that I should learn a lot to get what I wanted.

I came up yet when I was in Moscow with the idea to find people on the streets or maybe friends who would come along to have some portraits and so I would be able to understand better how good I was with that. Unfortunately I left temporarily abandoned this goal because before the summer ended that year I had already returned to Brazil and I turned my lens to the landscape and to the sea. I improved a lot my skills with these genders of shots but months later I was caught again by the conclusion that the shortest way to make some income out of it was to shoot portraits and this led me to try more seriously develop this area. And I managed again to do a portrait session for a friend and her daughter and that was the first photo shoot where I started to put into practice some rules and knowledge I had read in photography blogs and ebooks. Something started to get shape here. The big wave of portrait sessions came when I returned to Moscow in the beginning of 2019. I met several people in the hostel where I stayed and they were the perfect subjects since they naturally wished to have some photos as travel memories. The frequent visits to the famous spots of Moscow under the purpose of making portraits were really vital for my development, I was forced to look for new perspectives while exploring the same places every week. I had to look for better ways to use the street light, how to fit monuments and other elements inside the frame, how to enhance the skin color or the eye color.

In those first months of 2019 I was working most of my time as an English private tutor. I did my photo shoots in my free time, which I had quite much. At some point I had to search for a job that could provide me a visa and I decided to try a job in a small photo agency inside the mall at Lyubyanka. I got pretty excited for my first interview, the first one linked to a job as a photographer. I bought a new lens and flash and felt really anxious to see what it would be like. Unfortunately, I disliked very much the job and got quite upset that I had spent money away with the new equipment but later on my perspective changed and I realized that I could improve my use with the new tools and offer better photo shoots. The process to learn how to use a flash properly is quite tricky but after couple of trials I saw my camera doing wonderful stuff. Months passed by, I kept doing my photo shoots, doing several photo shoots for free in exchange for the use of the images in stock photo stores and I got to a point where I would spend several minutes looking at my best photos just for my own delight.

Nowadays my subjects are constantly guided by my tips. I am always proposing very specific posings, facial expressions and other unnoticed details. No thought comes to my mind when I decide to point the flash slightly to another direction, I just do it and once the photo shoot starts it takes a few primary shots for me to feel like I found the key. I change the settings of the camera from capture to capture and I truly don't think how it is gonna look like, I simply know what I am going to get, with an inexpressive margin for mistake. And this is because I learned to insist for the results I expect, without blaming too much on my gear or the lens. It's about trying, trying and trying till your camera becomes a part of your body. Once this happens, you barely pay attention to it. Instead you have time and space to focus on what you wanna do, you analyze without struggle what the place offers you and instantly you become concerned about the possibilities. Portrait photography or any photography is valuable for what you bring out of yourself making use of any equipment. If you have any concern about disadvantages you might be having with your photographic instrument then I suggest you forgetting a bit about these issues and take some time to shoot many portraits with it, exploring angles, different lighting schemes, different posing. When you open these images on your laptop or smartphone for post processing (if you do any), try to find what shades of color you like mostly, try to find a pattern of work that pleases you more. As you practice these steps, you will sense with more clarity your taste for portraits and once this happens you are certainly ready to expose your work in a way that people are most likely to approve it. Don't think of figuring out what do the audience wants to see, instead answer yourself what do you want to show and please, take the time you need to find the answer for this question. It will wipe away your doubt and the pleasure in shooting portraits will come regardless the side benefits.

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