Portraiture is more than just a picture

“Okay family, I want you to stand over here against that wall so I can take your picture.” Is that what you think of when the word picture comes to mind? Perhaps its a school picture or a sports picture or even a picture taken with your cell phone?  At this time in history there are so many ideas that come to mind when you hear the word picture.

How about the word portraiture? To me I think of an old time setting with an old 4×5 large format camera set up on a tripod. The photographer is hidden under a black cloth so they could focus the camera on subjects which had to hold still until the capture was complete.  In other words, I think of portraiture as kind of an old fashioned idea of capturing an image on film. I asked my husband what he thought of when he heard the word portraiture.  He thought of it as a more formal picture taken with a professional camera.  What do you think of?

According to  Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, portraiture is the art of making portraits and a portrait is a pictorial representation of a person, usually showing the face. If you follow that definition of portraiture then you could think portraiture is simply a picture. I would argue however, that portraiture is much more than a picture. There is a real art in creating a pictorial representation of a person. It takes thought and planning to really capture who that person or family really are.

As a photographer, I can’t really understand how to represent who you are without talking with you. I will consult with you and together we can figure out how you would like to be portrayed in your portrait. You might have some life event you want to capture and treasure forever like a wedding, a graduation or the birth of a child. Perhaps you want to represent a season in your life or the life of a loved one.  Whatever the reason, a portrait starts with an idea which needs a little planning.

Depending on the idea, the planning might be more complicated involving a specific location and the use of props. The idea may be very simple where it doesn’t look like there was any planning involved however, be assured, there is always some planning.

Pictures happen every day now with the invention of the cell phone.  When was the last time though, that you took the time to really represent yourself or your family with a portrait? I would urge you to put it on your schedule today, don’t wait until tomorrow.