Isolate a Background, Pose Within it and Create the Light! Part 1

facebookphotoTimes have changed, our clients have changed.  Clients used to be willing to spend IMG_3thousands of dollars on photography of their loved ones.  For the average client that spending has fallen into the hundreds.  With the average client spending less, the average photographer doesn’t have the luxuries that very high sales afforded him.  You simply can’t travel to remote locations for a single session and especially not at the perfect times of natural light (just after sun rise, just before sunset).

This change in our business has caused most photographers to be photographing during the middle of the day, a time which has the worst, most harsh lighting and the fewest usable backgrounds.  In outdoor photography, you have three elements to consider, lighting, posing/posing-aids and the background.  Young photographers often don’t make the correct choices because they don’t follow a simple rule in the order of importance that each part of a photograph has.  Light I can create, posing I can adapt to almost any situation, but the background has to be pleasing to the eye.

I often see photographers use the branches of trees to pose a family or child in, because it does provide a interesting posing opportunity, however the background that is behind the subjects and the issue in lighting each person properly is going to make the photograph look like an amateur did a snap shot of people playing in the tree.  You have to isolate a background first during the middle of the day.  The background is the only thing that is out of my control and why we must start first with it.  The second mistake that younger photographers make is becoming so attached to an idea of posing someone in a tree or beside a bunch of flower…etc. that they continue with the idea even when you know it will not work for a salable photograph.  We are not paid to take photos of flowers or interesting trees, we are paid to create portraits of people that make them look their best against a background that work IMG_1with overall look of the image.

The selection of background at this time of day is simplified by softening the backgrounds as much as possible.  I use a 70-200mm 2.8 lens wide open at around 150mm to 180mm (it provides the look I like while still being at a workable distance).  The second step is to look for backgrounds that are completely in shade or most in shade.  Sometime this means you have to isolate a small section of a larger background and use it.  You then pose the subject and select the camera angle that works within the background and then create the light.

All of these photos were taken just yesterday in the middle of summer at 1:30 in the afternoon daylight savings time!

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~ by jeffsmithbooks on September 8, 2013.

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