An old university friend of mine, Shomari Smith asked me to help him craft some professional photos of himself for his promotional material. Shomari is a DJ, the founder of Redymix DMT.
One of the most interesting parts of photography, and in particular to this post – portraiture, is the discussion and planning to select a concept to achieve the desired goal. In this case, we looked for something urban and gritty – matching the style of the outfit, but nothing too ‘hard core’ so as to conflict with the subject’s personality.
This is where I admit I went a bit crazy, grabbing cell phone snapshots of a few grungy walls everywhere I went. I was having fun, and started crafting photo concepts, drawing sketches on anything I had at the time, and snapping those with my mobile as well, and transferring those sketches to a Dropbox album.
Life is that amazing though, because we used none of those grungy walls or even the poses that I conceived with them. Why not? They TOTALLY conflicted with Shomari’s image. They were aggressively tough, reminiscent of certain Dancehall or Hip Hop artistes, but definitely not this Trinidadian DJ.
We ended up at a street in Port of Spain as the sun was going down on a nice and quiet Sunday evening. Nothing was as planned, nothing sketched, and no reference photos (which quite a few people bring when they’re asking for portraiture).
The lighting setup was pretty simple. One light using different modifiers. The most complicated it got was where I used a reflector, which a random passerby was happy to assist. He also provided us with musical accompaniment just before he started helping, as he was approaching. (Thank you random singing guy!)
The result? Well you tell me what you think. Feel free to do so in the comments below.
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