John Creatch shows his personality with a wink and a cigar puff in Malden, Ma. (© Michael Maher).
I was photographing a reunion for residents of the Edgeworth section of Malden, Ma., which I expected would be boring photos of people standing and chatting, or posing in groups around tables. I shot several photos of people interacting and most were indeed rather boring group shots. One man asked me to take his picture, but I expected nothing special, just a headshot of this one attendee. However, as I aimed and began shooting, he winked and took a puff on his cigar. When I shot several photos, he commented, “There, that should be good enough to get me in the newspaper,” and he was right. It was a great personality shot, and by far the strongest picture I got that night. Sometimes the subject provides everything you need to capture his/her personality – in this case it was both the wink of his eye and the cigar as an important prop.
1) Give a subject the opportunity to express his/her personality.
2) At large gatherings or events, look for close-up facial personality photos.
3) In addition to a compelling facial expression, sometimes add a physical prop to convey more about the subject’s personality.