My affair with photography started about 6 years ago when a friend introduced me to his work with infrared photography. Since then, I have experimented with many different styles, techniques and equipment in my never ending quest to capture that one perfect shot. But to this date, nothing intimidates me more than portrait photography.
The main reason for this is because I fear disappointing the person kindly posing for the shot, who in my mind trusts that I know what I am doing and expects great looking portraits. Like everything in life, it takes lots of practice to become good at something. And portrait photography is no different. It requires motivation to develop the skills to master the technique.
Thankfully, there are many highly talented photographers in our community who unlike me, are not intimidated by portraits and on a regular basis reminds us of their beauty, motivating and encouraging others to try it out. The popularity of portraits on Instagram has been rising for some time now, resulting in more and more people interested in both trying it and modeling/posing for them. In Boston, the rising popularity of portraits was recognized early on by IGersBoston community member Can Ahtam (@canahtam) who has been shooting portraits for a long time.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Can about portrait photography, the #PortraitMeet project and his goals for it.
J.M: Can, what does portraits mean to you?
C.A: Portraits mean unique emotions to me. Portraits have more words to deliver than an average cityscape or street shot. The process of capturing a portrait enables you to communicate with a live subject in front of you hence getting to know them better.
J.M: What motivated you to start the #PortraitMeet event series and subsequent @PortraitMeet account?
C.A: When I first started Instagram I used to share portraits a lot but they never got that much attention, instead sharing portraits usually backfired. Never gave up on this love so I kept on sharing my portrait photography and always believed that people would understand the value of it one day and I am pretty sure that now is the time. I wanted an instameet concept where people would get frequent exposure to each other and always facilitate creativity with positivity so I created the #portraitmeet series and it has been growing a community ever since.
J.M: What can we look forward to with this project?
C.A: We have been trying to grow outside of Boston and share out instameet concept around the world. Within the USA we had the highly active San Francisco community join our passion and we had the creative photographers of Athens, Greece also join the #portraitmeet wagon. Every once in a while, we host our portraitmeets on the same day. This is still an ongoing goal that we always welcome.
Since the best way to overcome your fears is by confronting them, on a recent IGersBoston event I decided to surround myself with some of the best portrait photographers in town and give it a try. The results? In addition to the first portrait in this post, here are a couple more portraits I took. What do you think?
It was a great experience to say the least and I look forward to continue exploring this fascinating world of portrait photography.
Have any tips, techniques or advice for others on portrait photography? Share it in the comments section below!