Sunday, March 20, 2016

Shooting a Variety of Male Portraits with Ronald was Like a Walk in the Park

I enjoy making portraits both in and out of the studio, but when Atlanta is in the full "bloom" of Fall, it pays to head outside and take advantage of the beautiful foliage, crisp morning air and lovely vistas.

I was contacted by Ronald to make a variety of photos for social media, business and personal use. We decided to meet in Piedmont Park and take advantage of the weather which was darn near perfect. My plan was to go with the flow and take as many different styles of photos as we could fit into our session. This was more informal than many portrait sessions that have a specific shot list in mind. I kinda like the looseness of it.

On the way to the park, I noticed an irresistible stairway that was being lit with sunlight bouncing off of a building across the street. That was our first stop.

I like to surround my subjects with framing elements like these defocused leaves.

Ronald wanted formal and informal photos so we shot in wearing just about everything he had in his wardrobe bag, including a snazzy tuxedo.

Once in the park, I used repeating architectural elements as a background. Something about columns and well-dressed people just go together. I call this pose "the knuckle sandwich".

The columns were attached to arches which make a perfect framing device.

And one more...

Changing the direction with me shooting from inside the building creates a whole new scene. I liked the canine passerby.

The sun was blaring bright by now but there was still some haze to diffuse it a bit... a very little bit.

Shooting with the sun to the subject's back makes a great rim light. Even shooting in harsh lighting conditions can produce good images, but it was challenging. Even the ivy and dead leaves were like little white mirrors pointing sunlight into my eyes.

A quiet moment and rest from the sun glare.

A quick swap of clothing and location in the park changed the feel of the portraits. I like to use natural landscapes to my advantage. Here, the hill was hiding a playground full of children.

I like the structure of the cement background and even the very intense contrast. It's okay to try different techniques in one photo session because it gives more variety to the client.

We took a break in the shade which allowed me to capture backlit color on the bushes and trees.

To shoot Ronald in front of the Atlanta skyline, I used the only source of shade available, which was a monument. He is literally standing on a shade sliver.

Locals know where this scene is, but to everyone else, it might look like a metropolis anywhere. This image just used available light.

To increase contrast, I used a flash to camera right, which is opposite of the background's light angle. I wonder how many people might have noticed this? It was the best way to control the light on his face. Regardless, I got the shot that I wanted.

And here is the setup I used...a single naked fill flash balanced with ambient light.

I am not sure who had more fun on this photo safari, but it was a wonderful adventure. Thanks Ronald!