Classic portraits in contemporary photography follow the principles that you see in the portraits of old-by Rembrandt,  Rubens, Hals, Vermeer, and so on. The painters knew how to best light and position the subjects in respect to the light so that their pictures were flattering representations.  My portraits use the classical lighting.  That is how best for me to reveal my subject’s character in a powerful illuminating manner. I am seeing modern-looking poses in portraits done by someone who bought a digital camera, sets up as a photographer, but who is unschooled in how to light the subject. The result at best are bland-looking subjects. A photographer to make his subjects look like they want really needs to properly light. Note that classic portraits encompass lots of styles of lighting and goes along with innovation, personality, fun, and a modern look.

When a potential client contacts me and says “I want a standard business head-shot”, or, perhaps “My goal is a modern-looking portrait”, my response is to come over to the studio and we will look at examples of my own work, tear-sheets from fashion magazines, and images from newly published books until we are set on the types of looks we want to create. We then discuss clothing and, for females, makeup, and the background that I should use to complement the story. I need my client’s feedback in order have the lighting setups for the shoot prepared to make the story compelling. Each shoot is tailored to the particular client.

One issue that photographers like painters have faced is how to put the subject at ease.   Beverages and dark chocolate work wonders.   One client I had was particularly nervous. An attractive woman, she insisted that she was not photogenic, but she needed the image for her company’s website.  After a few shots, I took a long look at her in the lovely light with the colors of her outfit balanced by the color I chose for the background and gasped “[Y]ou look gorgeous!”.  She softly smiled with pleasure, and bingo, I took the shot and we had a lovely representation of her good looks and sweet character.  

A client might ask only for a digital head-shot for their business or an audition, but for me, all classic portraits I mean to be works of art. All my portraits, whatever the size requested by the client, receive lots of my time to retouch for a pleasing yet natural-looking representation.  My classic portraits work well as fine-art-prints.


4816 Country Club Rd
with handicap ramp
Vestal, NY 13850
Phone: (607) 731-1626


Please click on an image to begin the classic portraits slideshow.

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