Recent Portraits

Portrait Photography by Ken Black


I remember when I was in my second semester of photography school my instructor had us commit to memory this phrase, “Portrait Photography is about capturing the essence of an individual and not the clinical reality.”  This is why really good portrait photography is tough to pull off because what really is the essence of an individual. Some say portrait photography is about capturing their expression, personality, or mood of the individual.  Might I add this is true.  However, in my experience, the key is for the photographer to be patient and let the individual search their own heart and soul and connect with camera.  I  believe what really makes good portrait photography is connection.  A connection so strong that when someone looks at the final image they can say they understand that individual or maybe a wish that they could understand them further.

Finally, the other component of good portrait photography is evocative lighting.  A portrait photograph does not have an audible narrator to speak for the image.  So the only thing that can speak for an individual is lighting.  Yes, as discussed before, a person has to bring the connection but it is lighting that that narrates that connection.  This is where I come into play, the photographer, I have to find a way to compose a harmonious blend of connection and lighting that makes an image stand the test of time.

I should note that photographers that I draw my inspiration from are guys like Irving Penn, Edward Steichen, George Hurrell, Richard Avedon, and Herb Ritts.  I mention these guys because sometimes the best way to understand someone is to know where they came from.  These guys are true masters.

The images are a collection of portrait photographs done here in Austin for the most part.  They comprise of High School Senior Portraits, Engagement Portraits, Bridal Portraits, Family Portraits,  Sports Portraits, Editorial Portraits,  children portraits, and business portraits.