• Inna Mosina

Capture Portraits With These 6 Tips

The Search of Place for Photo Session

The question about looking for a place for photo session is becoming key. Especially the background which is a very important element in portrait photography. I always pick a place in advance and check the location before the photo session starts (without model), so that I will have the first visualization or idea of future photos.

My main assistants are usually the one in charge of finding a place for photo session. They spend a lot of time in social networks, mostly Instagram to explore prospect locations. In half of the cases, I find a place for my photo session there. Typically, users point out the location below each photo by adding a location, or sometimes I ask about it in the comments. Remember, one pair of legs is good, but a thousand pair of legs are better and more efficient, as I don’t have possibility to get around all corners of my city. But in this case, very often, the idea of photography is born out of the place, though it’s not necessary, you can take screenshots of all the interesting places that are in social networks – they may be helpful in the future. The second method, which I use is – periodic global walks across city and surroundings. My city is not very remarkable and rich in attractions, but it situated in a hilly and wooded area. And finally, the third way – is google maps, though I use them less often.

Clothes and Props

In preparation for a photo session besides the background, I put on a great importance to the dress of the model, especially the color and texture. I never use modern clothes like jeans and T-shirts with prints, which is very important for me. For some of my photo sessions, I look for clothes and props from markets, like flea market, where old and unnecessary things are sold. First, there’s a huge range of such clothing, that you can’t currently anywhere else, and secondly, in Russia the prices on such markets are very low, approximately 1$ to 10$ per item.

Model Search

There are social networks with public pages for models and photographers. Sometimes, the search for an appropriate model takes weeks, or even months. I have my own standards of beauty. Moreover, the external appearance of models are the least interesting or important to me. I look at the ability to express emotion on the photos. Through the eyes, I need to see the inner world of person. It is a very subtle point, which can be described as: “it took control of my mind or didn’t”. I see it and understand it.

How Ideas Are Born

Mood, personal feelings or thoughts experienced during this period of time are giving ideas. Through photos I can feel free, put a point or come to some conclusion. Sometimes, ideas come from place for photo session, for example, as this photos series.

By using Instagram, by chance, I found out about very interesting places. It is an old house in which, according to the local residents, lives a crazy old woman, who for many years expressed their dissatisfaction to the world through notes on small pieces of paper, that glues onto the facade of the house. Thus, over the years, the house was plastered with these notes. I decided to dream with my own character of this woman, and made her younger. It was the height of summer, and at this time I took off only at dawn, as the light seemed to be the optimum. With the model we came to this house about 4 o’clock in the morning. We took with us an old suitcase, magnifier and my old lectures. During the photo session, my assistant tossed the lectures about 20 times until he had reached what I need. After making a small correction in Photoshop the pictures were ready.

Other Points Regarding Photo Session

I avoid photo studios and artificial light. In spring and summer I make photo only at dawn, at 4-5 am. I usually don’t tell the models the essence of my ideas, and I ask to show a particular emotion in certain circumstances. Through a photo I want to show my personal revelations which I don’t want to open completely, so that not to limit perception of the viewer to the framework of my vision of the world. Ideally – everyone should see something of their own. I devote a lot of attention to a selection of photos. The output should be no more than one – three photos. it’s very hard. Usually I make photos one or two times in a month, and not more. This way, I can think everything over, live with the idea for some time and prepare well. My favorite lens is the Nikon 50mm 1.8.

The Main Secret of a Great Portrait Make photos only if you can’t live without photo sessions. Make photos with the soul. Imitation, fashion or commerce won’t be able to fill the photo with energy. Although I agree with the statement that everything is already invented before us, but our identity, personality, experience, thoughts are different. Each person has his or her own perception of the world. So if you pass through something, it will always be new and unique, and therefore valuable.  Dream, love and shoot! I wish good luck! :-) 

©Copyright Inna Mosina