The battle for authenticity: Portrait photography is often a war between the photographer and subject


posted Tuesday, July 5, 2016 at 4:01 PM EST


I'm not a portrait photographer, but I can appreciate the challenge that photographers face in trying to balance numerous concerns simultaneously. Lighting, settings and all of that technical stuff is already a lot to take on, but a good portrait photographer also aims to capture the essence of a human being in a still frame. That's no small feat.

Portrait photographer Sean Tucker recently made a video about "authentic" portrait photography. There's often a battle that takes place between the photographer and the person having their portrait taken. We have an image of ourselves that we want the world to see and that may not align well with who we truly are. On the other hand, the photographer, says Tucker, is waiting for the moment when the real you shines through and capture it.

How are you supposed to draw a person out of their shell and capture an honest portrait? It depends on your personality and your style, but Tucker says that much more often than not, the honest shot is the one in which people look their best. There's an obvious difference between a forced portrait and a genuine one.

Tucker recommends that portrait photographers regularly find themselves in a role reversal and sit on the other side of the lens for photographs. It's important to keep in mind what it feels like to be the person under the lights and it may very well help you better understand your own subjects.

Getting out of your comfort zone is a theme for Sean Tucker. You may recall an article a couple of months ago where I shared a video that Tucker made of a landscape photography trip he took. He doesn't have the opportunity to shoot landscape photography very often and it's not his area of expertise, but he wanted to go out and try his best to see what he could learn about himself and his photography. You can check that out here.

To see more of Sean Tucker's work, visit his website and follow him on Instagram.

(Seen via DIY Photography