“This session was styled using metro-downtown as the setting at the specific request of our senior client. During the consultation, she said she wanted to design the shoot around fashion-edgy outfits in a modern setting that did not include a field or nature settings.
This is what prompted me to suggest a particular area of our metro downtown.”
Teri’s Photography Tip:
Shooting in a busy metro downtown area can be exciting and tricky. I have found that the time of day and the day of the week make a big difference. While traffic and headlights can create a great setting for telling the story, I prefer to have big open spaces and less traffic.
For this reason, I prefer to shoot an urban downtown session on a quiet Sunday late afternoon/evening. This ensures little to no traffic in the areas I want to shoot.
If you are interested in using your own metro area for a photo shoot, there may be restrictions to shooting on certain properties. Keep this in mind, so as not to be “shooed off” during your shoot.
Federal buildings and Federal grounds (such as the capital grounds of a city or the pretty park areas around your government buildings) typically are off-limits or at the very least require a permit. Yes, they are gorgeous, but it’s usually illegal to shoot there so just make sure to research and know your city.
My favorite areas to shoot in are alley ways because the light bouncing between the buildings can be phenomenal. This is another reason to consider a quiet weekend—city workers are not using the alleys and FedEx and UPS trucks are not parked there at that time.
Alleys also have great hidden treasures; however, they can also be unclean so warn your client and have things to use for them to sit on if they are wearing pretty dresses. They may not care, but some girls do so be prepared.
Parking garages are another fabulous source for great lighting and great views of the cityscape. Again, little to no cars on a Sunday evening means you can achieve amazing results with wide open spaces.
Look for great locations through the walls of the 2nd and 3rd stories of a parking garage and hover near the outer edge for amazing shifts of light.
Lots of stairs, steps, and interesting structures can also be found in the city so look for these. Have 3-4 key areas planned beforehand so you aren’t requiring your senior to walk for blocks and blocks in heels.
Tip: have her bring comfortable flat shoes for walking from area to area. Another tip: plan a scouting trip of your own downtown area to find the hidden treasures that are otherwise not seen by car.
Most metro areas are rather drab due to lots of concrete (though solid concrete walls can work wonderfully for a solid and creamy background with proper exposure), so be sure to help your senior design her wardrobe with lots of bold colors.
The main advantage to shooting metro is your senior will surely stand out as the main feature against the monotone concrete structures!
But also remember that there are many buildings that will have certain color tones that can work well to contrast and match many of your client’s outfits. Look for those.
Next time you have a senior asking for something other than the country-field look, consider your very own downtown city (whether small or large) for some interesting and unique looks.
And then mix it up each time you go metro by using new and varied areas with each of your seniors. Have fun and dare to seek the amazing nooks and crannies of your city!
Teri used a Canon 5D MKII with a Canon 85mm 1.2 lens and a Canon 50mm1.2 lens to capture these images. She also works with Seniors Ignite and is one of the lead photographers at the Seniors Ignite event in February.
Teri Fode is a Sacramento, California Senior Portraits photographer. Teri is also one of the lead shooters at the Seniors Ignite event in San Diego in February 2015.
Click here to see more tips on Location.
Love Teri’s photos? Want the opportunity to work with her directly? As we mentioned, Teri is one of the lead photographers at the Seniors Ignite event, along with some of the other amazing photographers we’ve seen already like John, Brad, Jen, Allison, and Cheri.
These photographers will be leading some of the portfolio-building sessions at the event, giving you the opportunity to learn directly from them. Check out more about the event here, but don’t forget to use the special Belovely You discount code!
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