In November I photographed local designer Lisa Leonard in her San Luis Obispo studio for the recent issue of SLO Life Magazine. Assignments for SLO Life are always a lot of fun, because there's a really specific component to the assignment, as well as an open-ended one. The specific bit is to get a nice, straightforward portrait of the subject for the magazine's regular "Meet your Neighbor" segment. That means finding (or making) a clean background and some flattering light for the subject, and then getting them comfortable enough with having a camera up in their face that the final picture makes you - the viewer - feel like you're part of the conversation. That last bit can be the biggest challenge of the shoot, but for this issue, it was a snap - Lisa is outgoing and happy, and comfortable in front of the camera from doing of all of the personal style and family photos that she posts on her blog.
Once I know I have that portrait nailed, I always try to get something "for myself." Usually , that means a variation on the portrait that reflects something more personal about the subject, or my impressions of them from our conversation. With Lisa's busy schedule and limited time on the day of the shoot, we kept the same setup that we used for her first portrait, but moved out for a wider shot that showed off her style that day, and a little space in the frame for her to play with.
The open-ended part of an assignment for SLO Life is the story-telling component. In this case, that means extra photos that tell a little more about what Lisa does at work, and provide some context for how her business relates to the community.