PH2 Ron Garrison
Figure 12-21.Informal portrait.
great and small, and sense and appreciate your own
emotions (fig. 12-20).
To communicate the abstract in photographs, you
must develop and use your inner sensitivity. The more it is
used, the more you photographs will be a successful
reflection of your experiences and emotional nature. Plus,
the more these elements appear in your work, the more
viewers become involved with the photographs.
Strong, expressive informal portraits are the result of
a successful interaction between the photojournalist and
The most important element when shooting an
informal portrait is for you to convey the character and
personality of the subject honestly.
With few exceptions, the informal portrait shot
cannot be in a studio where the subject is posing. In this
situation the subject may appear very formal and
The informal portrait is best made when the subject is
candid. This means photographing the subject in familiar
surroundings, such as his home or place of work. In these
surroundings the subjects hands, gestures and facial
expressions begin to convey character and personality.
The informal portrait is an excellent medium for
relieving the boredom of the plastic formal portraits, the
police mug shots and the grip and grins in Navy
newspapers. If a person is of the caliber or character to be
selected Sailor of the Year, project that character and
personality rather than the persons ability to shake hands.
Do not expect to get the best possible informal
portraits by taking only two or three photographs. When
you start, your subject will very likely be uneasy and
tense. However, as you shoot, the subject will usually
begin to relax.
The eyes (which must be in sharp focus) and the
mouth are the important parts of the informal portrait.
They are where the expressions, unique to each person,
are revealed. Your job is to coax the expressions out of the
subject. Usually, you can do this through a little
conversation while you are shooting or by having the
subject engaged in work or talking with another person.
When the subject becomes involved and forgets the
camera, the real expressions begin appearing (fig. 12-21).