Your browser does not support script Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Photography Pages - The Story Behind That Picture 54 - "Soul of a Man"
Thorsten von Overgaard's Photography Website
  Get Newsletter & Free eBook  

The Story Behind That Picture - 54
SIGN IN to Overgaard Academy on-line classes Subscribe for full access. It's free.           thorstenovergaard on Instagram Thosten von Overgaard on Facebook Thorsten von Overgaard on Twitter Thorsten von Overgaard on LinkedIn Thorsten von Overgaard on Flickr Thorsten Overgaard on YouTube Thorsten Overgaard video on Vimeo Thorsten von Overgaard on Leica Fotopark Thorsten von Overgaard on 500px    

The story behind that picture: "Soul of a Man"

By: Thorsten Overgaard


In continuation of my previous articles on portrait photography, let me go further in the subject. This time with a different kind of portraiture, the professional actor or model.

Photographing the woman who constantly says, "I never look good in pictures" and then you make her look good may seem an easy task. After all, she was convinced it could never be done.

Now, actors are different in that they already make a living from their look, and any new photo should forward that career.

People who don't normal pose in front of a camera, like the CEO of a company, are interesting because you got to have them relax and be them self. You actually do want to capture their soul, and if you can get them in that space where they are just there in front of the camera, you can get that moment where they just rest in them self.

People are usually quite beautiful when being them self. So it's more a people management thing than a photographic thing to it.

Now, some professional models are so used to posing that they will easily take over the photo shoot by posing in ways that can be very convincing or very automatic. They will recognize the click of the camera, change pose slightly, then change again and give you their "looks" in random order. And that might all be dandy if you are shooting 150 dresses and you just want to show the dresses. But when you do personal work for models, the challenge is to turn that posing off and get to the real person. You may want to hit them with something hard, but it won't work. A better way is to shoot them in ways they never tried before.

Professional actors
Now, a completely different category of portraits is professional actors. First off, they have a look they are very aware of, and contrary to when they work in front of a camera on a movie set, when you do their photos, you sort of work for them. Except that as a photographer, you can't work for the model. There can only be one director at set, and it must be the one behind the camera.

American actor Terence Hines on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, with Leica M9 and Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0 at f/1.0 in sunshine with 3-stop ND filter.

But your job as "director" is to make the person look true to the character that works for him or her. And then it becomes very intersting because unlike any other portrait photography, they can actually act. They are aware, they can keep an expression for long time, and they can even repeat the same stature, pose or emotion many times over.

You can ask them to be somebody, to be in a state of mind, to feel something - and by golly! They will. It's like playing with some very sophisticated clay. You can model anything with such a person.

With this type of material it becomes very tempting to try to see the actual person behind it all, understand the talents that he or she has, and then rethink it all. How could they look, how could they be casted? And so it was in this where I played an inrresponsible game of playing with the person and see what I could get out of it.

Terence Hines in a local flowerbed on Melrose Avenue, asked to be in a jungle. Leica M9 with 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0.

Terence Hines
One such actor is Terence Hines whom I shot at Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles some weeks ago. We simply went out on the street with a gold reflector and camera and some different shirts for him to wear.

Terence Hines is often cast in roles where he is the happy guy or the surprising character that gets the audience to wake up and pay attention.

I happen to come from a small country where actors are not as typecast because they would run out of work if they could only do one or few characters. So perhaps I see everybody in anybody, at least I pretended I didn't know better. And the result was surprising and fun to do. Who knows what roles Terence might end up in, in the future?

I don't know, and I think nobody does. I asked him to be somebody and something he doesn't normal get asked to be. Perhaps that is the real beauty of our two hour work a late afternoon in Los Angeles.

American actor Terence Hines with Leica M9 and Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0 at f/1.0 in sunshine with 3-stop ND filter.



Previous stories on portrait photography:

"I never look good in pictures"
"Always wear a camera"
"Perhaps being you is the answer"



Thorsten Overgaard, September 14, 2011
All photos © 2014 by Thorsten Overgaard. All rights reserved.
Shot with Leica M9 and Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0 at f/1.0 in sunshine with 3-stop ND filter, 80 ISO.



The Lightroom Survival Kit



Above: American actor Terence Hines with Leica M9 and Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0 at f/1.0 in sunshine with 3-stop ND filter.







Also visit:

Overgaard Photography Workshops
Books by Thorsten Overgaard
Street Photography Masterclass Video
Adobe Photoshop Editing Masterclass
Adobe Lightroom Survival Kit
Lightroom Presets by Overgaard
Lightroom Brushes by Overgaard
Capture One Survival Kit

Capture One Styles by Overgaard
Signed Original Prints by Overgaard

Von Overgaard Gallery Store
Ventilated Shades by Overgaaard
Leather Camera Straps
Camea Bags
Leather Writing Pads
Sterling Silver Camera Necklace

Leica Definitions
Leica History
Leica Lens Compendium
Leica Camera Compendium
Leica 21mm Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon f/3.4
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4

Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
Leica 35mm APO-Summicron-M f/2.0

Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
Leica 50mm Summicron-SL f/2.0
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0
ELCAN 50mm f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
7artisans 50mm f/1.1
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25
7artisans 75mm f/1.25
Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4
Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 90mm Summilux-M f/1.5
Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leitz Cine lenses
Leica L lenses

Leica M6

Leica M11-P
Leica M11
Leica M11 Monochrom
Leica M10
Leica M10-P

Leica M10-R
Leica M10-D
Leica M10 Monochrom
Leica M9, M9-P and Leica ME
Leica M9 Monochrom
Leica M 240
Leica M 240 for video
Leica M 262
Leica M-D 262

Leica M 246 Monochrom

Leica SL
Leica SL2
Leica SL2-S

Lecia SL3
Panasonic Lumix S1R
Leica R9 dSLR
Leica / Kodak/ Imacon digital back
Leica Q
Leica Q2
Leica Q2 Monochrom
Leica Q3
Leica CL
Leica TL2
Leica Sofort
Leica S medium format
Leica X
Leica D-Lux

Leica C-Lux

Leica V-Lux

Leica Digilux

Leica Digilux 1

Leica Digilux 2
Leica Digilux Zoom

Leica Digilux 4.3

Leica Digilux 3

Light metering
White Balance for More Beauty
Color Meters

Screen Calibration
Which computer to get
Sync'ing photo archive to iPhone
The Story Behind That Picture
"On The Road With von Overgaard"

Von Overgaard Masterclasses:
M11 / M10 / M9 / M240 / Q / Q2 / Q3 / SL2 / SL3 /TL2 /





Overgaard Photo Workshops


Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish-American multiple award-winning photographer, known for his writings about photography and Leica cameras. He travels to more than 25 countries a year, photographing and teaching workshops to photographers. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via email.

You can follow Thorsten Overgaard at his television channel

Feel free to email to for questions, advice and ideas.

  · Copyright 1996-2024 · Thorsten von Overgaard


© 1996 - 2024 Thorsten Overgaard. All rights reserved.


Web Analytics