To take the portrait of Rodney Charles, British model, actor and producer.
I met Rodney at London bespoke tailor Benson & Clegg at the launch of their new ready to wear for which I took the campaign photography and asked if I could take his portrait. We subsequently then met for a coffee and an introductory conversation which was not possible at Benson & Clegg; this meeting lasted two hours as we talked about our backgrounds, our experience in what was essentially a mutual interview process. Our shared background included work in the fashion industry and a revolving doors moment where one or two different decisions would have led to remarkably different outcomes. At the time of the meeting Rodney was involved in writing and producing.
Given the use of the portrait to support Rodney Charles’ writing and production aims we decided not to go with a suit and tie appearance which we believed was more suitable for a corporate look. Rather it was felt a white shirt would work well as a baseline look and then a black rollneck jumper to help present Rodney as a creative. Given Rodney’s modelling experience the portrait session ran smoothly as expected. In such cases when the basic skills of being comfortable in front of the camera and offering different poses are already established the focus of a session changes from offering broad directional strokes, to help set a mood or elicit a reaction, to identifying details and finessing the fine print; this is often a slight change of head angle, or where best to position a hand.
When it comes to profile images and use of a portrait or headshot on a CV most portrait sitters ask for the same thing; to appear confident and approachable. With this in mind it is important to bear in mind that when a frame is someone’s face with a small element of their clothing, there is little room for error as there is nothing else in the frame to focus on. Every move, pose or position needs to be considered and what may be a cute tilt of the head in a wider image may look weirdly off balance in a portrait. As such expression and clothing are vital to allowing someone to put their best foot forward.