An Informal Guide To The Formal Portrait with Mark Mann

MARK MANN talks about creating rapport with challenging personalities like Robert Downey Jr. and President Obama.  Photo by JUSTIN WILLIAM LIN

MARK MANN talks about creating rapport with challenging personalities like Robert Downey Jr. and President Obama.  Photo by JUSTIN WILLIAM LIN

On Saturday, Sep 24, we collaborated with Brooklyn annual photo festival Photoville and celebrity photographer Mark Mann on a wonderful, hands-on workshop called An Informal Guide To The Formal Portrait.   Born and raised in Glasgow, Mark assisted UK fashion titans Nick Knight and Miles Aldridge before branching off into creating his own, intimate style of portraiture.  His list of celebrity subjects and clients is too numerous to mention, so check out his work to see more.

In classic Glaswegian fashion, Mark delivered a very honest appraisal of his working method, which included his ideas on lighting, drawing out emotions from his subjects, as well as what to do when you're just too lazy to be bothered.  Mixed in with stories about photographing President Obama (in 4 minutes) for Esquire's 80th anniversary issue and some general philosophy (don't get bogged down by the technical details, focus instead on connecting with your subject), Mark assigned random emotions for groups of students to create in teams using both indoor and outdoor light.  

Below we've shared a few of of our favorite shots from the afternoon, submitted by students:

SLIDESHOW

Which are your favorites?  Can you guess which portrait conveys what emotion?  How can you incorporate some of these strategies into your own portrait work?  Comment below to contribute to the discussion.  Mark will be joining us again in the near future as a guest lecturer in some of our lighting and portrait classes, so contact us and let us know if you'd be interested in taking a class with him.