Going through Charlemagne Olivier (better known as That Guy with Glasses’) body of work you can see that he loves people.
A portrait photographer
When I asked him what it was about portraiture that he liked so much he quickly replied, “I don’t have to take photos of inanimate objects!” He goes on to say there are people who actually enjoy photographing, for example chairs and that he’s definitely not one of them. (We are so happy to hear this since his portraiture is absolutely beautiful.) And when it comes to getting his work out there, Charl believes that for photographers, Instagram is an excellent medium to showcase and curate your body of work.
Charl’s 1-2-3 Portraiture
Usually, Charl will start off the portrait shoot by experimenting with light to see what suits his subject best, whether it is a harsh flash or ambient light.
Charl suggests that you shoot portraits using a very shallow depth of field; f/4, f/2.8 or lower if you can. This, blur out busy backgrounds, drawing attention to the subject.
Interact with your model to help them tell their story through body language. Charl directs his models to get the perfect shot: When shooting with women, tell them to tilt their chin downwards with their hands softly behind or around the face – and remember that the opposite goes for men. He urges photographers to interact with their subjects saying that: “You want them to be expressive and show emotion.”
You might be wondering how you’ll know if you’ve got the shot? Charl’s advice is to go with your gut. Just keep practising ’cause at some point you’ll look at the back of your LCD screen knowing that your shot is ‘sick’. “It gets more and more difficult with time because you get better and something that might have been great a year back, is now ordinary.”
Lenses and locations
When shooting portraits, Charl prefers using long focal range lenses like the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM, the Canon EF 135mm f/2.0 L USM or the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8 L II USM. These lenses compresses features and makes everything look a little more flattering. When I asked him about any cool locations here in Gauteng he just laughed saying “Good luck, fly to Cape Town.” For those of us who can’t, his advise it to constantly be on the lookout for cool buildings or empty space. He says that shooting in someone’s garden can also give pretty awesome results.
Finding inspiration from photographer Juergen Teller, Charl wants to bring something different to the table. Given the chance he’d love to photograph the cast of Lord of the Rings, in their costumes complete with CGI background. (He’s a bit of a geek)
The ‘Portrait’ evolution
“Over the years portraits have evolved from being art to a marketing tool or self-esteem booster.” We can’t help but agree with Charl. Portraiture has come a long way, from the days of Rembrandt and da Vinci’s paintings, to 20th century photographers like Irving Penn and Hannes Caspar who capture the essence of their subject’s soul.
With a healthy understanding of both photography and marketing, including an ever-growing Instagram following; we are sure to see and hear a lot more from this undeniably talented photographer.