Shawn, and Shadow in Street Portraiture (#282) 04-26-13

Shadow adds dimension to the face in portraiture. And heavy shadow can add mystery, by hiding certain features. Joe McNalley says that to make a subject more interesting, don't light all of it. OK, here goes.

When I found Austin (yesterday's post), he was sitting with Shawn. I sheepishly admit that I may me misspelling his name. Maybe it's Sean. Either way, he was fabricating small flowers from cut palm fronds. I have not seen this activity in Venice before. It is VERY common in Savannah, where it is a favorite attempt at fundraising for the homeless. Both the activity and Shawn's appearance set him apart in Venice, where most folks are (ahem!) more senior, and VERY conservative in appearance and dress. More like, well..., me.

When I explained my project and asked for a photograph, Shawn was enthusiastic, and thought that it was "cool'. So here is Shawn, doing his thing.

Now, I brightened up the left side of his face a bit, as it was in fairly deep shadow. Here is what he looked like before post processing.

Now, as I was photographing for a head shot, I was well aware of the darkness of his left side. I could have asked him to move, or I could have used fill flash. But as he has a bit of a mysterious look (in our town, at least), I photographed him knowing that I would deepen the shadow.

Now that adds a mood, I think. I've used this technique a few times, always on men. For women, not so much.

Do you think that Joe McNalley is right? Is Shawn's face more interesting because it is not totally lit?