An Alley Can Be A Beautiful Thing

When I first moved into our latest location I wasn’t real happy about having an alley behind our studio, but it worked out well for getting the Viper and Harley in and out the studio.  We are located right next to the largest shopping area in the city in which we live, so our alley is a haven for the local PanHandlers and homeless people in their off hours.  Once I got over the smell of old beer and urine I saw potential in our little alley’s street look and hard lighting.

I found myself going out into alley for a young senior girl who wanted something different from the typical outdoor and urban portraits that every other else did.  I told her, “You want different,  I have been wanting to use the alley behind the studio”, she said “Great”.  We did the more trendy clothing which looked cool but also had her contrasted the clothing having her wear her prom dresses.  Since that first senior our little alley way has become quite popular.

The lighting in the alley is simple, throughout the day we pose the client to keep the sun at their back and then use a single reflector as a main light with the ambient as the fill.  As always we feather the direct beam of reflected sunlight over the subjects head to soften the characteristics of the light and avoid watery/squinting eyes in our clients. I use a 70-200 mm 2.8 lens wide open and almost always at 200mm to minimize the depth of field even more (Let’s be honest, there is some stuff in that alley you just don’t want to see!)  We try to merge the fashion edge this scene can provide with more salable posing to achieve a different look that clients will actually purchase and yes we have sold many wall portraits to senior from our cool but nasty alley!


~ by jeffsmithbooks on January 26, 2010.

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