Capturing the Perfect Portrait with Coloratti Daniele Barraco
by Dave Mobbs – February 16th, 2018
As a celebrity and portrait photographer, it’s essential for me to be able to capture my subject’s personality in a single image. Equally important is to ensure they are satisfied with the final result. Here are some simple and easy steps that I follow when capturing the perfect headshot:
1.Connect with your subject
For me, empathy is something that can heavily influence portrait photography. You can take a great portrait in about five minutes if you have the ability to connect with others. Prior to a shoot, I tend to research my subject to find out their interests or preferences. I also pay close attention to other portraits of my subject. I then try to reflect on what I could do to improve what others have captured. Before I even put the camera to my eye, I ensure I’ve made a connection with my subject, so they are at ease with the image making process. I do this by asking a few questions at the beginning of the shoot, such as their favourite colour, facial angle or pose. This is very important as it can help achieve a final image that they are satisfied with.
2.Conquer the headshot
I’m drawn to faces, eyes, wrinkles and stories. So a good headshot should celebrate everyone’s individual features. Personally, I prefer to capture headshots in front of a seamless background. I find the isolation helps to separate my subjects from the environment. Plus, all focus will be on them. Small adjustments to a subject’s pose can also have a big impact on the look. Therefore, it’s vital to put the subject at ease and offer lots of encouragement.
When I first started out in 2008, I didn’t invest in a host of expensive lighting equipment. Instead, I made use of natural lighting. Direct sunlight can sometimes be too harsh; but when diffused through the clouds or bounced off different surfaces, it can create an interesting look. The great advantage with portrait photography is the subject is movable, so you can place them where the light looks best!
An inexpensive and simple reflector is a good investment as it can bounce light into shadows on the subject’s face to even out the contrast. In addition, it adds catchlights in their eyes for a more saturated portrait. It’s also important to use a colour or grey card to create an accurate colour reference in the chosen lighting conditions.
Personally, I use the X-Rite ColorChecker products. At the beginning of a shoot I capture one image with the colour chart to use as a reference point in edit.
I prefer an unfiltered, natural approach when capturing images which means I spend time subtly retouching images after the shoot. To ensure I’m achieving the highest level of on screen accuracy when retouching, I use the X-Rite i1Display Pro. I regularly calibrate my monitors to ensure that the images I am editing on screen accurately represent the images I captured during the shoot. This can help me to streamline my workflow with guaranteed colour accuracy. I also refer back to the ColorChecker Passport Photo to create camera profiles, check the colours captured in the image and perform necessary colour correction.
Daniele Barraco is based in Italy and specialized in portraits and celebrity photography. He grew up as a musician touring in Europe as drummer with his band since seventeen. He considers himself a modern classicist.
He’s passionate about people, their faces and their stories.