Portrait photography

Why portrait photography is about trust

CR talks to three portrait photographers about why they were drawn to this art form and the importance of trust and collaboration when working with a subject

The job of a portrait photographer is to capture their subject. This can be achieved in a range of styles, approaches, and methods, but regardless of the execution, a good portrait tells us something about the person in the image; it captures their personality, their mood and maybe how they see themselves.

Taking photos of other people for a living sounds fun, even easy, but the skills of building trust with a subject, understanding what works, and creating something new take a long time to develop. “I know it sounds cliché, but it’s really a question of practice,” explains photographer Yolanda Y Liou. “The more pictures you take, the more comfortable you feel. Your job is to instinctively know when your control ends in order to capture those fleeting moments. But your instinct improves with practice.

Above and above: Yolanda Y Liou

Born in Taiwan and now based in London and Brighton, Liou creates work that explores the human body and the photographer’s own attitudes towards body image. Using both analog and digital techniques, she creates intimate yet powerful images. “Since my childhood and because of the culture of Taiwan, I have always had very low self-esteem about my appearance. At the start of photography, it was almost like a self-healing process; I didn’t trust myself, so I looked for beauty in others, ”Liou explains. “I have become quite obsessed with photographing people because I find something very beautiful in every individual. “


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