Earlier this summer I photographed Ally in downtown Caldwell. With Indian Creek Plaza as our backdrop, we had plenty of locations to explore, but 2 in particular really stood out. The first was a recently painted section of exterior wall. I liked the color of the wall but there wasn't a lot of it to work with. It was broken up by a window on one side and a door on the other, but I decided to make it work. This is a pullback shot while I was trying to decide how much of the environment I could get in the frame without being distracting.
After trying a few posing adjustments, Ally turned 45 degrees from the camera and twisted at the waits to open up the bustline and create a nice hourglass shape in the waist while still showing off the details of the dress. Some color adjustments softened the brightness of the wall to keep the colors from being overpowering.
For Ally's headshot, I left the vertical trim from the window and door for visual balance, knowing that it could easily be cropped out if needed. I also warmed up the skin tones for a more natural look, and Ally's smile really finished off the warmth of this headshot.
Our second location was about 10 or 15 feet to the right of the door. The glass garage door was catching the reflection of the building across the street and tied in well with the colors already present in the brick. We spent some time having Ally fan the dress to show some movement and got a few that I thought would work. When I sat down to begin retouching, I decided that I didn't like some of the distracting elements that could be seen through the lower portion of the glass. I also decided that the door seemed to throw off the balance of the image since it went all the way to the right edge of the frame. I still liked the overall image and decided to fix some of these issues.
The finished image has deeper tones starting with the black color of Ally's dress. The orange hues also got a bit of punch to give it an even warmer golden hour glow. Overall, that gave the image impact. I darkened the concrete and also the brightest points in the glass to hide some of the items that were being stored behind the garage door.
To handle the balance issue in the door, I decided to build a brick edge on the right side of the frame. I reproduced the brick wall to create a frame around Ally and then adjusted the crop to fit nicely with Ally's pose.
It's always nice to find a location that is great as-is, but unfortunately, that's not always the case. Indian Creek Plaza developers did most of the work, and I fine-tuned the rest. The additional time and effort it took to achieve the finished images was worth it, and the results just add to the lasting memory of the moment.
If you haven't been to Caldwell in a while, you'll be surprised by the transformation that downtown Caldwell has undergone. In addition to the local businesses that have opened up, you're also likely to see families gathering to enjoy the evening. You're also just as likely see a photographer or two doing just what I was doing. Either way, you're sure to enjoy your time in downtown Caldwell.