Sunday, November 22, 2009

Location, Location, Location

Like I mentioned yesterday, we opened a portrait studio in Everett just a few months ago. In the studio I have this image as well as many others hanging on the walls. I was a little hesitant to use this image at first, since I thought it might not make sense or even bother some of my customers with small children. I asked my husband, "Do you think she looks naked?" His reply, "She's not naked...she's got a bracelet on." Truth is, she's actually wearing a wedding dress! During a free moment in the reception the Bride grabbed me and asked if we could do some photos in the claw-foot tub she saw in the upstairs bathroom of the main building. I agreed and off Terice, Sarah (the bride), and I went. We didn't have a lot of time so I had Terice grab a monolight. The bathroom was small so she got the great job of being the HLS (Human Light Stand). Without any light modifiers, we had two choices for the lighting, point it at Sarah directly and blind her while also creating a very unflattering image, or point the strobe at the ceiling at a 45 degree angle and let the white walls, ceiling and light colored tile do some of the work. The image was shot at  1/50 @ F 10; ISO 200. The bounced flash created a gentle wrap to the light as well as soft pleasing shadows. I love the fact that the room is free from color; white curtains, walls, bathtub: it's great with her skin tone.

The image is all about location. A sense of place can change everything. But let's not be boring, some of the best places to shoot in the world are obscure and that alone makes them interesting. I'll admit this isn't my first time shooting a bride in a bathroom. I've done many shots inside of restrooms over the years. Oddly enough I've actually shot in the restrooms of many of Seattle's most expensive hotels. The key to finding a good location is to always have your eyes open. Here are a few tips that will help you choose the best spot for your next location shoot.
  1. Whenever possible scout out a location prior to shooting there. Look for features that speak to your sense of style and include design elements that will complement your over all vision. 
  2. Think about how you can use different angles and what you will need to include/avoid to create the mood of your image. 
  3. Most of all, think about the light and time of day. It's best to scout about the same time of day as your shoot will be whenever possible.
  4. Get permission. The world changed after 911. Trespassing with a camera can get you into a lot more trouble these days then it did just a few years ago.
  5. Go for the unexpected but make sure your background doesn't outshine your subject!
  6. Don't be afraid to get a little dirty to get the shot you need. I've stood in fountains, lakes, rivers, knee deep mud, etc if it means getting the right shot.
  7. Be prepared for all kinds of weather. 

Tomorrows blog: Panning and Blur

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