A landscape portrait begins as an idea in my minds eye

by Douglas Hoffman on March 31, 2022

When I arrive at a location the first thing I do is walk around. As I look to the left and right I am looking over the scene, evaluating the direction and quality of light, checking out the topography to see which elements of composition I can use to create a portrait that evokes an emotional response.

in the above portrait I wanted to capture the lavender bits of light that were present in the pre dawn light. As I looked around I noticed the waves were kid of big and the water was coming up over the sand. Thats when I decided to use a graduated neutral density filter and slow the shutter so that the end result would be the water would have a silky appearance.

Just as I carry a bag with different lenses, and filters, I have a an artistic quiver of different elements of composition I can pull from. Rather than arrows it features the rule of thirds, diagonal, vertical, and horizontal lines of repetition, s-curves, balance, reflections, and shapes that repeat.

As I look around my minds eye starts to form an idea for a portrait. This is where I visualize what the finished portrait could look like. Working backwards in this way helps me decide to freeze the action with a fast shutter, or create a silky feel with slow shutter.

Once I know how I want the image to look, I know how to set the camera to get the desired emotion. Then it’s a matter of fine tuning the overall framing and waiting for the right moment to press the shutter and create a portrait with intent and artistry.

Learn to see the possibilities on a 4.5 or 8 hour private workshop.