My way of portrait photography

Hello, my name is Mieszko (@mieszkomieszko on Instagram) – born in 1987 and currently living in Warsaw, Poland. I work as a specialist for a big corporation and, of course, I am a photographer. 

Besides photography, I also love music. Not only to listen but to play too (guitar & bass guitar mostly). Before I had a chance to hold the first camera in my hands, it was music that woke my creative side up.

The moment photography started to be my primary passion was the moment when I got my first „real” camera. It was an Olympus OM-D E-M10 – the first version, also known as “Mark I”. And no, this is not any Olympus or OM Digital Solutions advert, and I am not an ambassador for Olympus  – I’m just telling you the story. 

Shortly after that, I started taking photos of everything. And I mean everything – landscapes, people, flowers, macro photos of small bugs, macro photos of even smaller bugs… But taking photos of people was the thing that really enthralled me. My first model was my girlfriend, Natasha. After posting some photos of her on my Instagram account, other people started asking me to take photos of them. That’s how it started for me.

I’ve learned a thing or two about photography and my preferences since then. I really love natural light. I’ve got more than one flash, but I have never used it in any of my outdoor photoshoots. As a true natural light enthusiast, I’ve learned how to „read” it. Depending on the time of the day, the season or location, the light varies, and you can get completely different results.

I love how natural light creates shapes and shades. Some photographers prefer the light to be the same on all of their photos to make their portfolio more uniform, but I think of this variety as a good thing. All of my work is very diverse, and I really don’t care about exaggerated consistency. 

The other great thing about being a photographer is working with people. My recipe for a great photoshoot is simple: walk and talk. I choose a model (or the model chooses me), we arrange a meeting in some place, a starting point, and we walk, talk and take photos in the most interesting locations. What I find the most fascinating: photos taken in the early and the later phases of the photo session are really different.

Very often, photos taken at the final stages of the shoot are the best, because we built a connection already and the model is more relaxed. I think that getting to know (even just a little bit) the person who is standing in front of your lens is very important, especially when you’re working with novice models. It may be even more important than the lens itself.

Speaking of lenses and photo gear… My current setup is based on the OM-D E-M1 Mark II. I’ve been using this body for nearly a year now. As a backup, I always carry an OM-D E-M10 Mark III body in my backpack as well. As for the lens: I use the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm F1.2 PRO, and it is my primary lens for, I think, about 80% of my photos.

The second one is the Lumix 25mm F1.7. Sometimes I will also use old, vintage lenses made in the USSR, such as the Zenitar-M 50mm 1.7, Jupiter 37A 135mm 3.5 or Helios 44M-4 58mm 2.0 – they give me really lovely and unique bokeh. 

Before I got M.Zuiko 45mm F1.2 PRO, my primary lens was an M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8. I think they are both great lenses, they have a lot of similarities and a lot of differences, but I chose the 45mm F1.2 – because its bokeh is fantastic.

It’s also very sharp no matter what aperture I shoot at and is fully weather-sealed. Also, it looks really cool too, it’s got the right weight, and it fits perfectly in my hand (average size). The M.Zuiko 45mm F1.2 PRO has been my favorite lens so far. 

Now, why do I choose the M43 system for portrait photography? Well, when I was getting started with photography, I didn’t know that I would be doing mainly portraits in the future, so the main factors were the specifications, size and, of course, the looks.

Its vintage design is really cool, perfect for a retro style lover like me. The OM-D E-M1 Mark II body has very reasonable dimensions, and the handgrip is great for a medium-sized guy like myself, so I have never really considered buying any additional grips – it would be nothing more than giving in to a whim.

I also really enjoy the articulating LCD screen. It’s irreplaceable when you have outside the box ideas for shots – with a flip-out screen, I don’t have to kneel down or lay on the ground. 

When it comes to post-processing my photographs, I’ve been faithful to Adobe Lightroom only. I really like to put some cinematic looks on my shots, and I was never interested in colors as they are really. I create my own presets for every photoshoot and try to bring out some vintage film look and vibe. It’s a lot of fun trying to creatively adjust the colours to the person standing in front of my camera.

Lives in Warsaw, Poland. Portrait and street photographer. Creamy bokeh and natural light lover.

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