The photographer I chose to emulate for portrait photography is Richard Avedon.
Richard Avedon is one of the few photographers who knew he wanted to be a photographer at a very young age. His interest in photography started when he was 12 years old. When he got older he began photographing as a freelance photographer for Harper’s Bazaar. Avedon also ran a successful commercial studio where he photographed for Calvin Klein, Revlon, Versace and many others.
Avedon had a special type of lighting that he used which is now known as Avedon lighting. Avedon lighting is a combination of front, back and fill lights with a bunch of different reflectors. The lighting setups almost always involve a white background that strongly emphasizes the subjects face. The subject is removed from context and he focuses on their facial expressions. Avedon made sure that when he used white lights and a white background that his subject was wearing dark colors to emphasize them.
Avedon photographed people while looking their best or even looking their worst for a more authentic feel. Avedon also captured people when they felt uncomfortable or when they wore something that made them insecure. He conveyed his emotions through his subjects.
Avedon wanted to focus on real portraits of people. He loved the authentic look that facial expressions added to pictures. When he zoomed in tightly on a subject’s face then it allows the viewer to see the detail and true expression of the subject’s face.
I included some of my favorite’s of his work below, if you would like to see more of his work then check out his gallery here.