The late winter afternoon Sun was dim and grey when I got off the tram in a southern Viennese neighbourhood for my first ever portrait photoshoot. I pulled up my jacket’s chain and started walking through a quaint street at whose end I met up with my friend and model for the day, Elena, in a lovely, cosy garden house. Elena and I had discussed my passion for photography earlier, and she sympathised with my hardships in navigating the photography industry in a foreign land. We started walking towards a big park with a lake which was a short distance away. I was quite nervous as I had no prior experience of a semi-professional shoot where one needs to guide the model and create a dialogue with them. My only respite was that Elena had an academic and professional background in filmography and photography and that I could bank upon her to pull me out of a problematic artistic or technical roadblock.
A strong wind had picked up by the time we started taking the first test shots on the edge of the lake on my brand new Nikkor 50mm 1.8G lens. It complicated my compositions and made it challenging to come up with meaningful results. The first few shots felt like those taken on point and shoots. However, after a shaky start, I could concentrate on my compositions, improving them significantly.
We took some shots by the lake with some trees in the background and then proceeded to other wooded areas in the park. The Sun was a bit brighter now, and Elena’s light beige coat gave the perfect complementary touch to the close-ups I took. I took a few snaps where I let the sunlight beam on to her face, while the rest of the frame was wrapped in the shade from the woods. These shots were one of the highlights of the day. We moved to another part of the park where Elena posed without the coat, in her sweater and pants and, we made the shoot a bit more edgy and experimental.