Shutterstock Portrait Series: Natasha Janardan at CreativeMornings/NewYork
For the last three years with Shutterstock, we worked with photographers to capture the spirit of CreativeMornings’ attendees in chapters around the world. Together, we’ve collected over 2,000 portraits.
A good portrait tells the truth about a person in that moment in time—not the whole truth, but close to it. It’s an intimate dynamic that requires connection, patience, and acuity of the subject’s spirit.
We interviewed each talented photographer to learn to see what they see when they raise the camera.
Meet Natasha Janardan, CreativeMornings/NewYork portrait photographer, freelancer, and shoots product for Tattly.
What is it about portraiture that inspires you?
I love portraiture because it’s a more one-on-one experience. I love being able to directly interact with the person I’m photographing and guide them through photos. The other major plus is seeing their reaction to the photos when I show them throughout the session. Portraiture is the type of photography I started out doing about eight years ago so it has become the easiest for me too.
Portraiture is a personal exchange—how do you get your subjects to open up? What do you say or do?
I find that talking to the subject throughout the session to be the easiest way to get them to relax. Usually I we have to walk a couple minutes to a location or I have to set up for a bit if it is a studio. During that time I try and get to know them which in turn makes them relaxed. Depending on their age I ask them about school, sports, jobs, and interests. I kind of have my go to questions and I try my hardest to fill silence. Even if they are not that responsive, I will talk about myself haha (I also make fun of myself so they laugh). Usually, that gives them something else to focus on like me talking. This way the subject will feel less pressure about getting their photos done since I make the atmosphere more casual by constant conversation. I find this just as important as knowing how to use a camera.
At what moment do you know you successfully captured someone’s spirit or personality?
How do you know?I don’t know how to explain when I know I’ve captured someone’s spirit or personality. I think it usually just comes down to making them relaxed and not stiff. When I narrow down photos the first thing I look for is to make sure it is in focus. Then I remove all the photos with awkward posing or angles. How I’m able to tell which photos are bad posing and angles just comes with practice.
What advice would you give to people just picking up a camera, ready to explore the wonderful art of photography?
For people getting into photography my advice is always to practice every single day. Watch and read a bunch of tutorials about editing. Follow a range of artists, not only photographers. This will help you figure out things like color combinations and styles you like. Also, read. A LOT. I’m talking about social sciences and humanities. When you’re more informed about the world it makes it easier to talk to complete strangers which comes in handy if you get into portraiture. It will also better inform your own photography if you ever get into anything remotely conceptual. Although, I also alway say it’s okay if all you want to do is take pretty photos. They don’t have to be extremely “deep” and “moving”. Photography can be just as effective if it’s “pretty”. Lastly, if you’re getting into portraiture start taking selfies and photographing your friends!
See the rest of the CreativeMornings/NewYork portraits!
Discover more of Natasha’s work on her website and Instagram.