My First Portrait Session - An hour of portrait photography in downtown Fort Wayne

One thing that has always stood out in my photographs in the past is the lack of people, landscapes with no people makes sense, but I have photo’s of major tourist attraction with no people, like the Bean (Cloudgate) in Chicago. And, while I have gotten better about it, it’s still very new to me despite how long I’ve been into photography.

When I first started taking photography more seriously, just the act of making images around people was intimidating to me. I know that 99% of people are carrying on with their lives and don’t care what I’m doing, but that doesn’t stop my subconscious from telling me that everyone is staring me down. So, making images of people was never something I was comfortable with. I have been captivated by street photography though in the past year and it has forced me out of my comfort zone as I explore that side of photography. You’ll even see more street photography popping up on my Instagram, which I’m sure you’re following, right? If you’re not, you should be ….please.

Well, during this Covid-19 pandemic madness, I made a vow to myself to learn more about shooting people. I told myself I wanted to start making more images of people, so that’s what I set out to do. I tried to learn what I could through reading and watching YouTube, I’m not sure it did a whole lot of good, but maybe some of the tips will come naturally as I continue to photograph people. 

I met up with V, who really made my first try at this a lot easier as she is a natural in front of a camera. She pretty much took care of my biggest weakness, and that’s posing people. We set off for an hour in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana starting near Freimann Square. 

Now, I’m not going to say everything went great, cause I made some dumb mistakes. I missed quite a few shots because I didn’t think about my shutter speed enough and was shooting at too low of a shutter speed for the lens I was using. The biggest problem was obviously the longest lens I used. I only brought two for this trip, the Viltrox 85mmF1.8 and the Fujinon 50mmF2. The Viltrox 85mm on a crop sensor body works out to like 127mm and I should have been shooting at a much higher shutter speed, a lot of the shots I noticed the most camera shake in were shot at 1/160 sec. which must have been too slow, at least for me. This wasn’t a missed focus issue, it’s clearly camera shake, and clearly user error. But, it’s a mistake that I will learn from.

We also had another issue, which was kind of a major issue, especially for this being my first attempt at taking portraits. Turns out, we couldn’t talk to each other, at least not easily as I speak no Spanish (despite 2 years of high school Spanish classes) at all, and V didn’t speak any English. So, we communicated the best we could between a Google Translator app and just gestures. Luckily, V was terrific and we made due, and she was happy…which makes me happy.