Picture a lovely fairy princess with a golden, satin ball gown.
Her hair is piled high on her head around her shiny crown.
Her hands are sparkling with jeweled rings and diamond bracelets.
And she’s standing in front of a dumpster with a stray alley cat hanging out the top.
This is like one of those “What Doesn’t Belong” preschool games. Obviously, a portrait of a young woman dressed in a ball gown usually doesn’t involve standing in front of a garbage bin. Her face will still be just as lovely, but why distract from it with a setting like that?
What I’m getting at is that it’s important to pick a location that fits with the theme of your portrait session. Even if there’s not a specific “theme”, you’re not going to want to head to an urban area with brick, alleys, and street lights if you want a country look to your photos. It’s true, a good photographer can find spaces and places in most locations to make her subject shine – but a beautiful setting will only prove to enhance the loveliness of the portrait. So finding a good spot is very important. It’s like bonus questions on your final exam. It usually won’t make or break the session, but it just might be the deciding factor that makes a really good portrait into a great one.
A lot of folks ask if I have certain places I shoot at, and the answer is yes. I’m always scouting to find new outdoor locations, but there are some that I just keep going back to time and time again because they seem to work for a variety of reasons. I try to find areas that can offer several types of looks within one piece of property – shade, sunlight, buildings, water, foliage, seating (both natural and man-made), etc. I’ve been wanting to blog about some of my favorite places and spaces for awhile now so you can see how a great location can really enhance your portrait experience.
I almost got rear-ended when I first found this place out in Frankenmuth. I had passed by this place for years but hadn’t really seen it as a photo-op until a few years ago when I slammed on the breaks to get a better look. It was perfect, really. It has such a serene quality to it that I knew it was going to be a place I’d travel back to again and again for sessions. And I have. The combination of quiet mulched trails and quaint wooden buildings makes for a perfect setting for all types of sessions.
Lake and Fields
This is my key location for sessions. It’s located very close to my studio area, and is quiet and expansive enough to allow my clients to feel relaxed and comfortable to be themselves. It’s especially good for getting unposed shots of your little ones, since there are many places to run around in and explore. The open fields, the trails, barns, fencing, the water – it all projects a sense of tranquility which is calming and makes for spectacular photos.
In the Studio
This is my work in progress. I’ve slowly began taking over the space to create a warm, inviting place to have your photos taken away from the surprises weather sometimes throws at us. Part studio, parting warehouse for all my prop and backdrop treasures, the studio area is well lit with natural light but I’ve slowly implemented several studio lighting units to enhance your portraits. This is an especially useful space for newborn and small children sessions. I hope to surprise you all that are coming out for my November Short Shoot sessions with even more space and brand new settings for your holiday portraits!