One of the fun aspects of my job as an artist is getting a call or email out of the blue from someone asking me to do a commissioned painting that is challenging and exciting. On a morning not too long ago, I received just such an email. A prominent woman in the business world with a dynamic, vibrant personality asked me if I would be interested in painting a portrait of her and her niece. Flattered by the honor and instantly jazzed about the project I said yes.
Since accepting the project, I’ve revisited the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC to familiarize myself with the masterful works on display there and to get ideas as far as composition, poses, lighting, brushwork etc… I’ve spent a good bit of time reviewing what others have done, what I like and don’t like and making mental notes of what might work best as far as my subjects.
I’ve been asked to fly to Boston for the photography shoot. My client has a business meeting and talk to give there and her niece happens to be a student at Harvard University. Both extremely busy, a few hours together for the photo shoot at Harvard will have to suffice. Her niece represents the next generation of professional business women in the family. The portrait will need to capture the love between them, their beauty and the importance of the subjects. Therein lies the weight of the project and the challenge.
I’m brushing up on my photography skills, dusting off my tripod and getting ready for my whirlwind trip to Beantown. I’ve contacted a family friend and professional portrait photographer to make sure that I’m ready for any lighting conditions. His professional tips and generosity will definitely help me get the most out of the setting. This will be all important when it comes to having the best possible material to work from. I’ll be shooting a variety of poses along with close-up shots for detail purposes.
I’ve tried to prepare myself as much as possible, covering all of the “what ifs” that could possibly arise in a photo shoot. I loved what my friend, the portrait photographer said at the end of one of his emails. “The wind will blow over your reflector. Someone will slam a door just when you’re taking your best shot. The tripod will begin to sink and you’ll wonder where your subjects went. Someone’s nose will be running, and other adventures await the portrait photographer and yet you will persevere and GET THE SHOT, I know you will!”
Boston awaits. I’ll be able to say, “I went to Harvard”, even if it was only for a few hours on a Monday afternoon for a photo shoot :-). The adventure begins. I love the challenge of it all.