Photographer Showcase: Larissa Lord
Introducing Larissa Lord of Larissa Lord Photography. Our photographers are the heart of our business and the reason we do what we do. That’s why we want to put the spotlight on them. Portrait photographer Larissa gives her personal and in-depth take on a range of her photos; read on to hear the magic behind her work.
“I decided to try school photography because I really enjoy taking classic portraits of people. I particularly like children as subjects because they have so much personality. They have uninhibited character – from stranger shyness to being completely ready to be silly and give me a ‘cheese face’. You can even see their character through the state of their clothes and faces – hair swept out of the face, bows sitting slightly askew – or if they carry in toys or special jewellery they love. From a more technical standpoint, I’ve found school portraits a little easier compared to family photos because I can better control the lighting AND my little subjects. Seated on a little stool, I’m not having to chase them around nearly as much as I do in an open environment.”
“This image of my sister and her daughter was shot in the Baja peninsula of Mexico. I didn’t use any fancy techniques. I tried to underexpose a bit to retain some of the sky, and also because I wanted the rim light in their hair. I always encourage interaction and movement. I directed them to walk away from me towards the mountains, and had my sister talk a bit to her daughter as they walked together. This gives a more natural look, rather than posing. I also had my sister gather the dress a bit because it was windy and I loved the movement. I think the movement in the dress draws you right in.
I normally do interact with children: lots of noises, songs, little games, anything to get them comfortable or to coax a smile. If I don’t already have a rapport with the family, I send a questionnaire to the parents and ask what kind of things their children like (for instance, songs & activities) and don’t like (loud noises, people in their space) so that we can start the session off on the right foot.”
Playing with Shadows
“I exposed for the highlights here. I always spot meter, and I knew with this shot that I wanted to retain the highlights in the photo so that the shadows could be very dark, framing them in the window light. I love directional light. This is a corner of their room that gets nice light. My main objective was to get their faces in the light so that they’d be framed nicely!
I think getting good expressions from children requires a bit of knowledge about them. As these kiddos’ mother, I have an advantage. I know what will make them laugh and how they like to play together. For this I had them sit down and then encouraged them to have a silly face contest. With kids, too, a high shutter speed is nice, so you can capture the fleeting expressions and quick movements.”
“I didn’t use anything technical for this photo, but I was really focusing on color and pattern in terms of composition. Because his shirt and shorts were bright and busy, I wanted to make him pop against a wall in our small town. I chose this white one, and had him stand close to the bricks so that I could get another colour and pattern in there. All the horizontal lines are nice and draw your eye right away. This is natural light, but open shade, as we were standing in an alley between two buildings
I cracked a few jokes. I think I even told him to strike a model pose. He, of course, did something silly, and I just feigned exasperation or sarcasm in response: “Oh, yeah, nice – I got a nice shot right up your nose with that one!” It made him giggle. I definitely recommend shooting through a moment – you don’t have to constantly click, but don’t lower the camera as you’re interacting with your subjects. Sometimes the best moments happen after the ones you’re encouraging.”
“I originally tried GotPhoto because I wanted complete gallery privacy for each client I photographed. I realise that this is an important aspect for parents and guardians, and it was important to me, too. I found it mentioned on a forum, and signed up because I was so impressed with the ease of the system. It simplified my first go at school photography, from creating contact sheets from class lists to printing and ordering. I can’t even tell you how much time it saved me, which is really important. I’m the mom of two school-aged kids and don’t have a lot of time. Not only that, their staff and support is so helpful. I was walked through the setup process and any time I’ve bungled something (it happens!), I have always had a very quick response from GotPhoto’s team. To me, the service fee is well worth the effect on my time management. Also, you can structure your pricing with fees in mind in order to still meet personal income goals. It’s why I keep recommending them to other photographers interested in school, sports, or event photography.”