Street Portraits in Oakland
Street Portraits of artist Vera Vinot, Murals, and Smoke.
A few weeks ago I bought a new lens. Technically I bought this lens for working in small spaces, not for portraits. But I had an old friend visiting from out of town and decided I would take the opportunity to test out the lens with her. So, despite it being smoky we did some exploring around Oakland and took street portraits.
We took the photos on the first day that the smoke from the camp fire was settling over the Bay Area. At that point the destructiveness of the fire was still unknown. So I was able to appreciate the surreal color of the light. The orange glow felt a lot like shooting during sunset.
There is a lot that I could say about the Camp Fire, but I want to focus on something more uplifting and positive. Because, here in California we have experienced so much heartache and heaviness lately.
So, Let’s talk about the photos!
Going outside with my portrait clients is one of my favorite ways to capture them. Using natural light, creating candid street portraits. Walking around finding colors and textures that reflect their personality is so fun! Vera is an artist, so photographing her in front of a variety of amazing street murals made perfect sense. Going about a portrait session in this way can also feel very casual and easy going. Being photographed does not come naturally to most people. And I know from first hand experience how much anxiety being on camera can cause. So when I work with clients my intent is always to make it feel like we are just two friends, exploring the area. By doing this I am able to give my clients the space to relax, open up, and be themselves.
The lens I used for these portraits is not designed to capture faces, there is a lot of distortion that happens. But since these photos are about showing a personality they don’t have to be ‘technically perfect’. Instead, I want them to show the emotions and feelings of my subject. And, also, to allow the viewer to experience their own emotional response to the image. Rather than seeing an image that is an exact replica of a real life face. There is another time and place for those images.
I hope you enjoy the colors in these images, their richness, and vibrancy. As well as the beautiful artwork that I had the honor of including in these street portraits.
“Art is an evolutionary act. The shape of art and its role in society is constantly changing. At no point is art static. There are no rules.” – R.S. Harmon
Curious about being Photographed?
Does having your photo taken stress you out? But you really do want to have images that capture who you are and where you are in your life right now? Well then, let’s talk. I like to joke that I have magic powers when it comes to taking great photos of “unphotogenic” people. But really it is just a combination of many years of experience and an easy going, calm demeanor that puts people at ease. Feel free to use the contact form below, I’d love to hear from you!
All Images © Ella Sophie
Ella Sophie is an artist and photographer living in Oakland California. She specializes in creating images that empower women. Through portraiture, boudoir photography and ethical fashion photography. Ella strives to change the perception that women have of themselves one photo at a time. When she isn’t working you can find her volunteering at the local animal shelter. Encouraging fellow entrepreneurs and artists. Or traveling and taking in the beautiful wilderness.
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