Portrait photographer for Viva Lewes Magazine's April issue
Each month Viva Lewes Magazine commissions a local portrait photographer to produce a set of four themed portraits. For April's spread of 'The Way we Work', the theme was baristas. It's aim, to feature a few of those that serve up the town's best coffee in an interesting and engaging way.
Portrait photographer assembles team
Interestingly, Viva approached me and I liked this idea. I've also worked as a portrait photographer for them before and therefore had a good understanding of what would be involved.
Coincidentally, my non identical twin nephews Tom and Rowan are in their second terms at Varndean studying photography at A-Level. Why not get them involved with me in this, I thought? What a great project to use as a learning exercise and a taste of working through a project as a professional.
I subsequently put the idea to the magazine and the response was enthusiastic. Thankfully, convincing the boys to put in the effort was easy. Perhaps it was the thought of sampling wonderfully aromatic and flavoursome coffee that swayed them.
The ground work
Having identified a few willing cafes, I naturally made contact and introduced myself. I subsequently arranged to pop in to each and take a few test shots. Of course, these would help the team of Smedley photographers to assess the available light in each environment. They would also provide us with invaluable information about how to frame each subject and create a 'set' of portraits.
Sitting in a cafe and slowly sipping a cup of your favourite coffee is one of life's pleasures. It's a warm and happy experience. One enriched by a friendly, cheerful and welcoming barista. Hence, we really wanted our subjects to engage the camera and convey this. We wanted to show the baristas at one with their environments and to be enticing us in. We wanted to tie the images together as a set by using complementary framing, lighting and visual cues.
Obviously, I can only speak for myself here but I think the boys have done a fine job with a little help. The more I look in to these shots, the more I can smell the unmistakable fragrance of freshly ground coffee beans. I think I can smell delicious cake, too.
"Just wanted to say a massive thank you to you and your nephews... The photos are absolutely brilliant, they’ve done a fantastic job.
Art director Viva Lewes