Master Photography Podcast : Six Creative Portraits With Connor Hibbs: A Review

Today I’m going to review the master photography podcast titled Six creative portrait images with Connor Hibbs (Colorado Based Photographer), Hosted by Jeff Harmon (photographer).

I went into this podcast as a first-time listener of master photography podcasts. I didn’t know what to expect from this 1 hr 12-minute podcast at all, but I was very impressed. It was extremely insightful and having the show notes on hand during meant I could develop a deeper understanding of just what was happening.

The podcast starts with a message telling us to stay safe which is important right now due to the pandemic.

At the start of the discussion Connor and Jeff talked about the anatomy of a portrait shoot. In finding that Connor didn’t have any personal projects in his portfolio he set himself a challenge to do one fun personal project every month. Just taking something for himself. This is something that helps his photography grow and flourish.

This is something I find exciting too. Back in 2016 I set myself Photo Challenges weekly to expand my creative thinking and grow as a photographer. It was just this month that I decided to bring it back while we are in isolation and carry on even when this period ends.

For me my personal projects are usually with models/ clients I now call friends. I like to do shoots with concepts like at Halloween I collaborated with another photographer and we did a harlequin and jilted bride shoot with a model each. We shot this in the woods and in December I worked with an actress I’ve worked with a few times, who’s really good at makeup to do a jack frost/ ice queen inspired Christmas Shoot.

So, think about this don’t just take images for someone else, do some personal projects for yourself too.

The next part of the podcast was about how he connected with his first model who was in the first two images. It was fashion photographer Johnny Edward who he met on Instagram around 6 years ago and they did a swap shop earlier this year. So, they both took photos of each other.

The two photographers also used each other’s set-ups in the shoot. Myself knowing a lot of photographers I think this is a great idea. It would teach you both something as you would see what lighting set-ups the other photographer would use and see if you can implement them into your future shoots and whether they can implement yours.

I think that photographing another photographer might provide you with a new perspective and I’d like to try this when life gets back to normal.

Unless you’re a self-portrait artist or really love taking selfies photographers tend to rarely shoot themselves. a compliment to the photographer is when the image is used as a social media profile picture like Connor Hibbs did with Johnny Edwards photo as mentioned in the podcast.

The main thing I took from the first shoot with Johnny Edward that was shown is that he tried to find objects and props to compliment the image which is something I should do more of. Johnny got a £10 rug from a thrift store to use. I suppose the message here is to always look for props you can take to a shoot. The closest I’ve done to this is using masks to represent hidden identity.

Id’ definitely recommend looking at Johnny Edward’s Instagram @johnycreative like Connor does not only for the amazing photos but for how he tailors them to the square format.

Tips from Connor – Lighting closer to a model creates a more dramatic falloff from the backdrop. Also always try and bring the models personal style into the photoshoot, using complementary tones. Sometimes adding a scarf to an outfit can make an image more compelling.  The style of the portraits of Johnny are a really cool blend of high fashion and eclectic style.

I learnt from this shoot not to be afraid to look anywhere and everywhere for one of a kind pieces you can add to your shoots. Also, like Connor did for the other 4 images with the rapper always ask a model to bring a variety of outfits and put them together yourself.

Connor says a shoot will be more natural if you tell the model what poses to do to start them off and then just let the poses flow.

Connor used some one, two and three light setups with a variety of different modifiers mostly circular modifiers and for the 3-light set up two strip lights to light the background and a key light in the foreground to the right of the camera.

With the rapper Connor used a red paper backdrop and pushed himself to experiment with colour. Sometimes trying something new and getting out of your comfort zone can give you more creative control.

Here’s my favourite tip from the entire podcast. Jeff stated that if you use a light grey backdrop and a gel to get new colours the grey makes the gels stand out more. I can’t wait until I’m back in the studio to try this the results in the show notes look brilliant.

Connor always shoots his studio work with 1/125 f8 and iso 100 or 200 and adjusts the aperture accordingly.

Finally, at the end of the podcast Jeff and Connor mentioned a photo contest running from March 19th -April 19th on Flickr and the rules are all images must be shot between those dates and you can win a 30-minute masterclass with one of 4 professionals.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this podcast for portrait photographers and I’d give it a 4.5 out of 5.

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