Successfully photographing people is one of the most difficult assignments a photographer can undertake and this assignment is all about photographing people. Like the great portrait photographer, Yousuf Karsh, your task this time is to capture the essence of a single person in a single shot. This could be through a formal shoot of a person you know well or it could be a candid portrait of a stranger. Your choice. I've chosen two of each as examples....

Something to keep in mind: Every portrait is a self-portrait. The choices you make will always reveal more about you than they do about the subject matter.

 lesson7 1

Julie, when I knew her, presented herself as worldly, a little street-hardened even. In the making of this shot she let her guard down for a moment and I was able to capture a warmer, softer side.

 lesson7 2

Refined and urban chic, Atsuko, like many of her countrymen, was up against the wall, trapped in a web of duty to family, to work, to country and probably to duty itself.

 lesson7 3

Masks can hide but they also reveal. This shot was taken at the annual Illuminaire Festival in Vancouver's East Side. Look closely at the eye. For once, even the annoying "red eye" problem works to advantage.

 lesson7 4

I'm not sure why but this shot always connects up in my mind with Rodin's "The Gates of Hell". It would be pretty easy to argue that this is a terrible shot. The lighting is a horror show, while motion blur and a soft focus further weaken it. As a photo, it may not be much. As a street portrait it rocks.

All photographs were taken by Brian Grover.

The End