How often do we take snapshot of people that matter to us - just a quick "snapshot". We take the picture because these people are important to us. Well, why not make it into a portrait?
A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant (Wikipedia).
Well, it doesn't just have to be the face, rather, the face has to be significant. The face - the look - displays an aspect of the personality. However, where you take the picture and the artifacts in the picture should make a statement about the individual.
Here is an example - Victor: a dear friend who is slowly losing cognitive functioning. At 81 Victor still recognizes me however has a hard time remembering last years visit (I see him once a year due to travel) or this morning’s conversation. But he has not lost his sense of humor or his ability to play the piano – he volunteers at a senior’s home where he plays 50’s music for his contemporaries. He is a dear friend, and is very important to me.
This was taken 2 day ago … sitting in his living room just before I asked him to play for us. Not sure how long he will be with us, I decide to get out the tripod and my Nikon and capture a sweet moment. I posed him in a way that reflects his character … the humorous stern face, the glass of wine, the incandescent light used to read his New York Times each day. This is Victor - not a snapshot, rather a portrait.
The next time you are with someone who is important to you, give it some thought. Who are they? What matters to them? What of them matters to you? What makes them unique. Ask them if you can take their picture. Once they agree most people don't mind to be directed. If they get tense, play with them. Make them at ease. Use a tripod. This enabling you to interact with me knowing the camera is set-up for the picture you want. As with Victor, when the moment arrives, take your "portrait".