Time-Lapse of a Portrait Session

Having enlightened clients is awesome.

And I’m blessed to have a few. You may remember the portraits I made of THIS real estate agent, for example. Now there’s a guy who both wants to stand out from the crowd, and isn’t afraid to take chances, both artistically, and physically. And then there was THIS GUY, who was really up for something weird.

A few months ago, I got a call from another long-time client, Kim. She’s a real estate agent, and was re-vamping her website. There would be a testimonial page, and she wanted photos of her past clients to go alongside their words. “But I don’t want it to look like everybody else’s testimonial page,” she said.

“I know,” I said. “Clichès are awful. But we could do something more, uh, creative, if you want.”

Now, at this point, my head is already spinning with ideas. Most of them are un-workable, due to a combination of liability and a general shortage of giraffes in this area. But, the Avedon exhibit had just appeared at the SFMoMA, I had just seen it for the 4th time, and I was dying to try some black-and-white portraiture. I steered the conversation in that direction, cautiously.

I started out with pretty tame variations on the usual stand-up-and-smile routine. Kim was like, “Mmm-Hmm, sure…..” But when I started talking about studio backdrops, sepia tones, and subjects who weren’t looking at the camera and smiling, she became positively excited. “That’s exactly what I was thinking!” she practically shouted. I knew I had a live one; for the next 30 minutes we brainstormed, and a totally cool project was born.

We had a ball. The shoot took place over two days, one in November, one in January. In total we shot 12 couples and individuals. I time-lapsed the November session, from setup to strike. Enjoy!

5 responses to “Time-Lapse of a Portrait Session

  1. Love it! How many photos did you put together for this time lapse presentation? Very cool.

  2. I create timelapses all the time, I also watch a lot for inspiration. Although simple, I think this is brilliant and is a fantastic portrait of how you work.

    The real work here is not the final portraits, but the study on the fun and mania that comes with making them.

    Great effort.

  3. Thanks, all.
    Tyra, it was (I think) at least 1500, maybe 2000…I did the time-lapse part 3 months ago so I don’t remember exactly. I think it was a shot every 3 or 5 seconds, something like that, and the shoot lasted a good 5 hours from start to finish.

    Sam – yeah. The lighting is simple, this is really all about getting people to relax and have fun with the camera. It’s really stimulating work, but I go home drained, because I’m “up” with them the whole time. This group was amazing, they loosened up and really got into it.

  4. Amazing how similar our stuff is; from the ghetto boom with super-clamps, to the ghetto background with super-clamps, even to the slik tripod bag. Weird.

    Keep up the good work…