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Monday, May 3, 2010

Master Portraits from Pepito

It was a pleasure meeting Pepito a couple of weeks ago when he demonstrated how to do a nice portrait, set up lights and proper posture. He refers to the portraiture as a form of art.
He is known for his sepia portraiture collection and his simple lighting.
Every day Pepito studies master painters' artwork and yes, he is still using his Haselblad medium format camera. He says he prefers to get the picture in the camera and does little post processing.

He also develops a relationship with his clients.
"I talk to the people, I am like a psychologist. I tell them how to think of something," Pepito said. He talks to his client prior to the shooting about wearing long sleeved shirts in the same color. The reason for long sleeves is that the arms of the subject may become a focal point in the image (the skin has a lighter tone and it attracts the eyes).

What size image should I buy?
Pepito always answers this question prior to the shooting.
- The size of the wall determines the size of the picture
- What impact does the client want to achieve with the picture?
- The investment the client would like to make
All three elements play a role in the image size selection.

If Pepito is using available light, he prefers the light after sunset or the subtractive lighting in the park (shade).

Here is his advice about how to be a good photographer and business person:
1. compose in the camera
2. learn from master painters
3. always get to the scene earlier than your client
4. give your clients a questionnaire and keep it after they fill it out. It has their names, Bday, pets, hobbies, it is easier for a photographer to engage in conversation and "warm up" a client
5. on the clients' Bday, Pepito sends a postcard with their portrait as a reminder

Here are some behind the scene shots where you can see him setting up the light and positioning the subjects. His main light is a softbox to the left of the subject, a white reflector panel to the right of the subject, a background light or hair light behind the subject and an umbrella behind his camera.

Here are some portraits too where I used the same settings.

Posing a male client is different.

"You can be the greatest photographer, but you will starve to death if you don't do marketing," he said.

Pepito's blog is here.
Pepito's website is here.

Portrait Lighting techniques.

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