“This session took place a couple of hours away from Santa Rosa, CA where I am based. I had never seen the two locations we would be using before, but I had some photographs from my client to use in my planning process.
This family wanted photographs that captured the essence of their adorable little daughter and highlighted her spunky yet sweet spirit as well as some candid moments that captured of all three of them.
I work primarily in natural light, and always try to push myself to use the light available to me to create portraits that are artistically minded as well as emotive.
We had a great time photographing in the two hours before sunset, and were able to really highlight the strengths of golden hour lighting as well as the beautiful softness the end of the day brings to the world to create some unique images that speak of the relationships this couple holds most dear.”
Susan’s Photography Tip:
My favorite image of this entire set is the one of the family warming their hands over the fire in Grandma’s backyard. Sometimes natural light can be challenging, however there are always elements available to create unique shots that have that “wow, how did you do that?” factor using only what is around you.
Since I had never seen the areas we were going to shoot in before, I had to think on my feet to get the interesting perspectives that make a portrait go from good to great.
At our first location in a nearby golf course, I was able to use huge rocks to take shots of the little one from below — a great technique for photographing children, as they are usually shot from above.
Then we moved to Grandma’s backyard, and as my clients were changing outfits, I scanned the area for things that I could play with. The first thing that caught my eye was their beautiful pool.
I was able to play with reflections as the sun was setting to get some beautiful shots of just the two parents. I then espied the fire pots, and as twilight was setting, I placed them in a way that creatively harnessed the lighting situation I was in to create a shot unlike any other.
Having your “go-to” prompts and poses are a necessary part of lifestyle portraiture, but creatively using things like bodies of water, landscaping, and unorthodox sources of light in the settings you are in can introduce a certain artistry to the portraits you take.
The next time you are scouting a location, look for unique elements to play with as you position and direct your clients. You may be surprised at how easy it is to create artistic images that stop viewers in their tracks.
Susan used a Nikon D800 (affiliate link) with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens (affiliate link) and a Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (affiliate link) to capture these images.
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