Some recent portrait work...

by Heidi Koehler

I have to say that as a photographer who prefers to work with natural light Merritt is rather ideal for the abundance of good weather. While sometimes it can be overly bright this is usually pretty easy to overcome by working on the north side or using shade.

Occasionally cloud cover intervenes which is quite desirable as it gives a soft natural light that is very flattering. Occasionally I will use a bounce to reflect more light back. It's important to me that all the features that make a person's face unique are visually accounted for in a pleasing way. This means taking shots- and ultimately selecting the final ones- that enhance the best features and minimize the...less pleasing ones.

Commission for School Achievement Poster

Family Portrait

I saw a so-called professional portrait not so long ago that lit the (quite beautiful) subject in such a way that the chin was completely absent. (Yes, that's a link- the chin is very important!) The face flowed right into the neck! It's a fact many people have a double chin or one that is not so well defined and it blew me away that the photographer did not notice this. At the opposite end of this is the very well defined jaw and slender neck...the aim in such a case would be to downplay these things by choice of a shooting angles...like avoiding three quarter views.

Commission for local artist

Overall I like to get a slightly soft look to portraits- that razor sharp look that many photographers strive for has a tendency to really enhance the perceived flaws in a person's face and also enhances irrelevant details. Of course there is always software to cover up those blemishes but that usually cost extra if the photographer offers it...

Couple Portrait

I mention this because recently I saw a series of professional school portraits that were excessively sharp- I was actually a little revolted at being able to see skin pores as well as the usual pimples and stray hairs in with such detail. That brings up a little tip I have for people looking to hire a portrait photographer...at the very least have a pocket mirror and packet of tissues or a kerchief with you at the shoot; this is to blot skin that is really shiny. I don't usually charge extra to minimize skin shine or zits but there is only so much I will do before it becomes a separate service. (It also doesn't hurt to bring a comb.)