The Portrait

Whitney Hayward is a senior at MU, double-majoring in journalism and Japanese. One of her favorite hobbies is crocheting; she learned the skill from her grandmother.

Whitney Hayward studied abroad in Japan for an entire year. She was living in the country when the tsunami struck, and her family had arrived in Japan to visit her. Fortunately, she and her family remained safe.

We’ve all seen them… mind-numbing, movement-stilling photos of people, either staring into the camera or away, a quiet and enigmatic expression on their face. The background is usually a white or dramatic black. Their faces may be entirely illuminated, or only partially lit.

Oh yes, we’re talking about portraits.

This week’s assignment was for a pair of classmates to take turns in the photo studio, making a portrait of each other.

In order for the portrait to be most effective, I had to learn more about my classmate. This way I would be able to properly convey her personality and character.

Luckily for me, I got an awesome and interesting classmate. Whitney is a senior at MU, almost finished with her double major: Journalism and Japanese. She studied abroad in Japan for a year. In her free time, she crochets.

This was the first time I had ever attempted to take a more journalistic portrait. I take portraits all time at work; but those are more of the web directory type.

I have little experience with lighting; only enough to make the year-book type mug shot I mentioned earlier.

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An inspiration

This week we’re beginning to learn more and more about studio lighting and the effects angles can have on a subject.

I am really excited to learn more on this topic. Although I take lots of portraits at work, they’re the yearbook-style photo: make sure the light is balanced and the person looks good. There’s no posing, no playing and no fun!

We were each asked to find a portrait we found inspiring. Here’s the one I chose:

*Image copyright of Paul Quiambao*


I find pictures of old people to be the most compelling. It has something to do with their wrinkles, I think. Watching the way the light spills onto this person’s face and how the light weaves into and out of wrinkles is inspiring to look at.

I believe that the photographer used only one light here, to the side that the person is facing. Then he took the photo from a different angle. The way the one light highlights the subject’s profile, but giving it just enough more detail to keep it from being a silhouette is beautiful and stunning. I hope I know how to do this someday!


The Scavenger Hunt

Part one of my first assignment was a crazy scavenger hunt across campus, doing copy work and some nutty self portraits!

At another time, I would have had a lot of fun figuring out the riddles and finding the clues– as it was, I felt like I was in National Treasure. However, I returned from a family funeral late Wednesday. I was determined to turn in the project on time and rushed to get it done on Thursday before class.

Taking some of the photos was difficult– especially inside the Shack. My brother had already carved our family name into wood there, so I chose to photograph his work. However, it was so dark. I didn’t want to bump my ISO past 800 and I felt like all the pictures I took in there were terrible. But I was in such a hurry and so stressed to just take the photos and run than I didn’t take the time to slow down, take a breath and fiddle with my settings until something came out that I liked.

If I could do the project over again, I would try to take more time setting up a shot, working with my camera to get the best photo I could.