There's something exciting about working in a new location. The surroundings are new and different and more often than not, I'm scanning the area trying to find the perfect spot to photograph in. On this day, Chastity and I were in downtown Nampa. There was a farmer's market going on in front of Flying M Coffeehouse. The music was playing and there was a lot of activity going on. After a few minutes of people watching, it was time to decide on a location.
We moved away from the center of all the activity and found ourselves walking along an alleyway. I scanned the area and found the usual urban exteriors. The buildings had some nice texture, so I made a mental note that we could use them as a backdrop, but kept scanning the area. I saw an interesting stairway leading up to the second floor of the building and liked how it seemed to go on forever. The repeating lines of the stairs were an interesting element along with the intersecting lines of the rails. I thought this might make a nice spot to work in, so I quickly picked my lens and began working with Chastity. She moved around while sitting on different steps, all the while I kept moving around looking for different angles and trying to get the composition right.
Chastity and I chatted about things going on in our lives: kids, work, and the things that fill our days. While we were talking, I commented on Chastity's hair and outfit and mentioned that it had a kind of 90s vibe to it. Although I was not specifically thinking about this as a theme shoot, I decided to have some fun with the retouching and created a finished image complete with film border that fit the 90s era so well.
I moved around to the front of the stairs and had Chastity sit down. With each shot, I explored the stairs and rails as a backdrop for the seated shots. I really liked the look and got a series with different poses. Chastity's hair looked so great that we even tried letting the hair fall in front of her face for a more primal look.
A quick lens change and we were back in business. I composed a shot to get as much of the stairway in the frame as possible. Visually, I would have loved for the stairway to be wider to take up the whole frame, but since that wasn't possible, I made it work...for the time being.
This is what I got straight out of the camera.
Later, while I was retouching, I just kept getting distracted by the empty space outside the rail on the left side of the frame as well as the abrupt end of the stairs at the bottom of the frame, so I decided to make some changes. I widened the stairs to push them further to the left and eliminated the empty space while pushing out the rail to the edge of the frame. This created a frame within the frame focusing the attention within the rails. The repeating lines of the stairs were a great visual interest with Chastity seated in the foreground in a great pose.
At the end of the alley I could see some cars parked in front of a building. The light was brighter and I decided to use it for visual interest. Since I didn't want them to be distracting, I also created a very shallow depth of field so that the background would become blurred but still retain the interesting tones and shapes. With Chastity standing in the center, a slight turn at the waist, a pop of the hip and the pose was set. Chastity moved her hand up to pull her hair out of her face, and that was the finishing touch.
This pose was followed up by some quick adjustments. A quick flip of the hair and we got our shot.
We moved to the left and used the pole to incorporate the environment a bit more. For the pose, a profile body position, arched back, with the hand above the head to arch the back even further. Head turned to face the camera, and we had our shot.
In all, I think we moved about 10 feet from start to finish. The location was interesting and gave us ways to get variety without having to move far. Since I was shooting using natural light, I didn't have to worry about moving lights, but even if I had, I wouldn't have had to move them very far.
The planner in me likes to feel like I've done my homework and scouted a location prior to a shoot. But it is nice to be reminded of how fun it can be to go to a location, without any preconceived ideas or a specific shot list in mind. It can make for a unique experience for everyone involved and adds to the excitement of the day. So let's get together and explore someplace new. Life is about the experience, so let's create one together. I'll bring the camera.
For information about scheduling a session, send a message.