I have been asked this question many times about my style by mostly other fellow photographers I meet for the first time. First thing that will come to mind is ”fashion style” to many of us when asked this question. Well I am not talking about my fashion style. I am talking about my photographic style.
To answer this question, I have to go back to my high school years when I was doing my first and last class taught photography course. When we had an assignment to shoot people, I always cropped the head and face to be the main thing in the frame. I never got any good grades for doing so but I personally liked it so much, I just kept doing it irrespect of whatever grade I was going to get. A couple of years passed since that semester of photography class, I picked up my camera when I was at university (college) and on a basketball game trip to Atlanta – Georgia (USA), while sitting at the airport waiting for our flight, I was snapping headshots of my teammates, the coaching and training staff, it was then thta I got hooked on headshots without knowing it. Amongst other things like shooting macro and landscape from time to time, I kept always coming back to shooting tight headshot of people.
Where did it become my call?
While living in Indoesia 7 years ago, I got even so drawn into people faces on the streets, traditional markets and local satelite villages amongst the high rises around our home in Jakarta. I found myself shooting only heads. I went on a photo walk organised by a team of husband and wife Commercial Photographer and Photo Tours organiser Melbourne The Photographer, all I seemed to take was tight headshot. He encouraged to do that if that felt natural for me but also to occasionally show the environment specially in a place like Jakarta.
My family and I moved the United Kingdom after leaving Indonesia, I coninued with my street portrait while shooting some Editorial and Fashion but I always had a few minutes of crafting some portrait (tight face shots) during any of my shoot sessions. Though I wanted to do mostly sports portrait but something always seemed to put me back to headshot.
Finding my way by way of admiring other photographers
As most people who found photography, there is nothing more beautiful than having an out of focus background behind your main subject in the image. I started concentrating on that and playing with my lighting. Then I needed to learn more about lighting to get more creative with what I wanted to do, I sought out the teaching of one of the best instructors and Masters of lighting in the world Frank Doorhof. I went to his studio in Emmeloord for some One On One sessions. Frank armed me with what I need about working with light and being creative with it. Though people asked me at times when I told them that Frank is the one who taught me my lighting techniques, ”but your work does not look like Frank’s”. That is when I always quote Bruce Lee the martial art guy ”Learn and absorb all you can, then make it your own”.
Where to go from here
When I started shooting my cinematic look, I did not know that there were people out there consistently doing it already. By accident, I stumbled across Dylan Patrick’s an awesome cinematic headshot photographer from New York at the time (now Los Angeles), then everything fell into place for me. Coming across Dylan a few months ago has been the catalyst of my current photography and going forward. I hooked up with Dylan through his Cinematic Headshot Facebook page since with many other photographer from around the world and we are discussing each other images everyday providing support and guidance to everyone in the group.
So what is my style?
People faces portrait is my style. How do I define my style, well I try to maintain a common thread throughout my cinematic headshot, in way of being consistent with my lighting and mood, encompassing other photographers’ work similar to mine that I admire into my own, continually refining what I am doing, keep experimenting and more spending more time in practicing and learning new techniques. All of that put together is the reflection of the world and the people in that world around me as seen through my own eyes and the eye of my lens and camera because I am always putting a little bit of myself into my images. That is my style.
This is where my style is now but in constant refinement and need of improvement as see below