To take the portrait of Sean Pritchard, who runs his own garden design studio based in London and Somerset. Before setting up the practice, Sean graduated with Distinction from the Garden Design School in Bristol.
I was approached by Sean who was keen to have a new portrait taken as he was in need of an up to date portrait for use on PR and promotional material scheduled for later this year. Fortuitously Sean’s London base was close to my location in south London and we were able to quickly line up a date for his portrait session.
As with all my sessions I started my time with Sean with a conversation to find out and understand his portraiture requirements and, equally importantly, to learn about the man himself and what makes him tick in order to accurately direct him in front of the camera. In some cases portrait subjects know or believe one side of their face is more photogenic than the other; in this instance Sean Pritchard instinctively wanted his portrait to be taken while looking to his right. This was backed up by taking other various angles, including from an elevated position, to confirm his instincts. I call this ‘negative photography’; taking images and frames I believe are sub optimal in order to confirm the path chosen is the best on to take. Additionally Sean was keen not to project a corporate look and for his portrait to reflect his vocation; indeed his preference was not to be photographed against a white background. However his choice of clothes, ie something other than a suit or jacket and tie, along with the black and white edit of the portrait is enough to distance his portrait from that of a more corporate nature.
I believe it is unfair to lead a portrait subject directly to stand in front of the camera at the start of a session. With Sean the initial 20 minute conversation was critical in building a relationship with him in order for him to feel comfortable in front of the camera and offer an engaging expression.