Modelling, for a professional or non professional model alike, against a (in this case white) backdrop is challenging, especially for close up portraits or headshots. On a location there are both elements for the model to interact with and also for the photographer to consider in regards to composition. When it comes to a backdrop neither party have these elements at their disposal. The results from such a session are dependent on the skill of the model in regards to creating interesting composition with their bodies and clothes and, in addition to the technical and lighting skills, the direction the photographer can offer in order to illicit a response. This headshot session was made all the more challenging due to his height with Tobi clocking in at 6ft 8in; I keep a foldable step and also a ladder at hand for such conditions.
I often find the best images are either the first or last frames of a headshot session. The first frame, lighting notwithstanding, is often surprisingly good and I believe it is because the experience of standing in front of a camera is fresh. This freshness and openness disappears as a session continues and the subject grows accustomed to the flash and noise of the lighting. Resulting it is the final or final few frames which are generally ‘the keepers’ as it is these frames which have been worked towards. In this instance with Tobi Jaji this was the fifth to last frame of the headshot session. Having established he enjoyed driving fast and powerful cars and also had experience of driving in Germany, the only industrialized Western country without a general speed limit, I asked Tobi to imagine driving his dream car at his preferred speed on the Autobahn. And hey! Presto!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; taking a good portrait requires a level of trust from the subject to be and show emotionally honesty which comes from having a relationship with the photographer. If there is no prior relationship, conversation is essential in building one. This frame of Tobi comes from details shared in conversation and without them this image would not exist.