WASHINGTON DC PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY: PORTRAIT OF A CORRESPONDENT
Gunnar was frustrated.
An online article he had recently authored in the US was to be featured in Der Spiegel’s print edition. His editor in Berlin needed updated professional portraits and headshots of Guunar and he needed them now!
As a Senior US Correspondent for Der Spiegel, Gunnar was accustomed to having his articles published, but with a text by-line, not a headshot or portrait. It had been years since he had a professional portrait or headshot created. He was scrambling to find a photographer who could create the type of environmental portrait that matched the look he wanted. He searched the web, scouring dozens of Washington, DC portrait photographer’s sites. He found nothing that inspired him.
Then he found my site. He liked what he saw.
I was traveling when his email came in. Gunnar wanted my earliest open date. According to him, my portraits were modern, classic and engaging. I’ll take that.
I looked ahead to the first opening on my schedule, called Gunnar and offered him the date. Their was noticeable relief in his voice. His job was done. Mine was just beginning. Gunnar wanted an environmental portrait that had a ‘very natural’ look. No cliche shots of him sitting on the steps of the Capitol or straddling the center line of Constitution Avenue at 5AM. Nothing that would scream ‘foreign correspondent in Washington DC’.
I knew just the place.
We met at a small park in the Virginia countryside, about an hour west of downtown Washington. I don’t shoot there often, but when I do, I remember just why I like doing outdoor portrait sessions there. Tall mature trees create large areas of wonderful open shade, next to sun drenched fields bordered by wooden fences and low stone walls. A working grist mill and restored historical buildings strung around the site offer great options for settings and backdrops. Add in a lily pond, walking paths and a restored tool shed, circa 1800, and the option list for portrait shots is a location photographer’s dream.
We meet early on a weekday morning. The park feels like it’s our own outdoor studio. We are virtually alone.
Gunnar is nervous. Very nervous.
I solve that quickly, getting right into the session. No time to let him worry about how he looks look or how to pose. I start shooting and talking. It works. Within 5 minutes, Gunnar is comfortable with me, with himself and with the session. We are rolling. We move around the site, working the settings and creating a series of portraits and headshots of Gunnar.
A little over an hour later, we are done. Another dealine met, another satisfied client and one very happy editor.