Just a few images from a recent event on Capitol Hill. So many rooms on the hill are full of wood paneling that looks much better in black and white.
A big part of any portrait is getting the subject to feel comfortable in front of the camera. Most people are understandably a little uncomfortable stepping in front of a stranger with a camera and letting them take pictures. It may sound a little backwards, but one of the ways I get people to look natural is by giving direction on how to pose or stand. I'm not a big proponent of canned poses that may look pleasing, but force people stand in a completely unnatural way. The posing guidance I give focuses on making people look their best while feeling natural. I find this often helps build trust with my subject. I let people know when they're tilting their head to one side (most people do), or have the light falling on them in an unflattering way. This lets them know I really have their interests in mind and I'm trying to work to make them look their best.
I write all that with the portraits belowbecause they were all so open to my direction. Their portraits were all going to end up on the same webpage, so while each portrait doesn't have to be exactly alike, we wanted them to be similar. The people pictured were all congressional interns, who had just arrived in DC. Many came from across the country and had never been in Washington before.
This year I photographed a somewhat smaller set of students for the Corcoran's NEXT exhibition promotional materials. Because there were fewer students I was able to spend a little extra time with each person and each setup. I brought a lighting setup and ended up lighting almost every image I shot. Some I set to mimic daylight or existing light, other times the lighting is more overt.
I'm always impressed by the people who volunteer their time to advocate on Capitol Hill for the issues that are important to them. Whatever the cause, I think hearing a constituent's personal story has an impact on elected officials.