Portrait Photography - Interview with Photographer - Priscilla Chan
For some time now, Eye on Life Magazine has been following a number of artists in various mediums, one of which falls under the category of portrait photography. Among the professional photographers that have caught our eyes is a particular photographer living in Normal, Illinois – Priscilla Chan. She specializes in portraits of people taken in natural light, so most of her photography is done outdoors. There’s both special talent and techniques required of photographers whenever they work with people both indoors and outdoors with their models and Priscilla Chan has both the talent and the technique to get the job done regardless of the setting or the subject.
In thinking about her photography and photographers in general, I think the number one question that many people who are interested in working in or appreciating this area of art seek -- is a single or uncomplicated answer to the age old question, “What makes a photographer a great photographer?
First and foremost, I think the difference between a good photographer and a great one boils down to one word, “passion.” Like with all art, if the artist lacks passion, the art will be lacking. There an old anonymous saying:
“Anyone can take a picture but a person with a passion sees the picture before it’s taken.”
So besides passion, what else makes a good portrait photographer great?
- Knowing that the composition of a photograph is important and understanding that breaking the rules of composition can make all the difference between a good photo and a great photo.
- Use of appropriate lighting
- Non-competing backgrounds
- Timeless subjects
- Capturing captivating expressions by playing with eye contact and subjects looking off camera
- Nuances in posture and grouping of subjects if more than one person
INTERVIEW WITH PRISCILLA CHAN
JW: When did you first develop an interest in photography?
PC: One day I was passing by a dragonfly in the Chicago Chinatown area several years ago. I had my point and shoot camera. So I stopped and snapped the picture. I was so amazed with the picture, I knew then I wanted to learn more about photography.
Then, I got a Nikon D90 for my birthday three years ago. I was overjoyed, but a bit overwhelmed, not knowing where to begin my learning of photography. I signed up for a photography club at work. I was also lucky enough to be able to work with a mentor for a year or so. I went along to photos shoots and wedding events. I have learned so much from him that I am forever grateful! Since then, I have discovered so much about photography and myself!
JW; What types of photography do you specialize in?
PC: I love people! I love doing portraits in natural light. I do most of my shoots outdoor. It gives me so much joy to see the nature! I do weddings, engagements, senior photos, babies, glamour shots, etc.
JW: What is important to you as a photographer to your clients?
PC: If someone asks me for my services, they have to love my work! On the other hand, as a photographer, my client’s satisfaction is the most important thing to me. If they are happy, I am happy! Being a successful business owner, I know that building the relationship is a must. Understanding your client’s needs and having their trust is very important! Most of all, you got to love what you do besides the financial gain. I am passionate about my work! I also make photo books, cards, for my clients at no extra charge for the service. I simply enjoy doing that!
JW: What are you looking for as far as capturing the moment?
PC: I want to bring the best out of people. I rarely tell my clients to pose. I want them to be themselves. I would take a lot of shots preferably when they are not posing. That is the kind of shots I like to capture! As far as lighting goes, it is best to do it in the early morning or late evening. I learned the hard way that when the sun is so strong, the pictures would have a lot of unpleasant shadows.
JW: Besides portraits, do you take other kinds of photos?
PC: Certainly! I love gardening, cooking, traveling. I take all kinds of photos while pursing these activities for fun. Currently, I like learning more about action shots. A couple weeks ago, I went to Chinatown to visit my mom. It happened to be the Marathon week. I was just shooting away with my camera. That gave me a chance to do something that I don’t normally do. JW:
Gallery of Priscilla Chan Photography
While Priscilla Chan defines herself as primarily a portrait photographer -- her talents show that she is also an accomplished photographer in the many disciplines found within photography art.