I came across a nice fashion photo that was shot somewhere on this planet on a bridge. As much we are capable to screw up the landscape with eclectic manmade structures, there are always nice lines to be found in there. On-location people photography is not all about the portrait itself. The reason you shoot on location is because the location brings in something; adds a visual value to the composition. The background you select cannot be treated as if it was a plain white seamless.
I never took any visual design courses. None the less, I know the importance of it in photography. I got lucky enough to get close to some who studied in that field. It is incredible who much you can get just by listening to them and seeing what they like and don’t like. Leading lines, weight of visual elements, and separation of main subjects are concept that should constantly be running in our heads as we shoot on location. If there is a strong line in your composition, it should lead somewhere important or separate the image in 2 distinct compositions interacting together otherwise it is useless. Anything other than your main subject should be enhancing that subject. If you are shooting someone in front of a building, you must decide whether you are shooting someone or a building and then from there, that main subject should not be pushed aside by the other elements. These are all concepts that ran through my mind as I was shooting Jade on the bridge.
A photoshot is a team effort. I was relying on Jade to strike the right poses and Jade was relying on me to ensure she was standing in the right spot. As photographer, we must own that last piece. We are the ones seeing the interaction the background has in the composition. Jade had no ways to know if a large beam was running through her head; I had to call these out. Don’t be afraid of telling someone to move sideways, forward or backward. Even to say “the background does not work, let’s move!”. Rather be walking a little bit more to have the shot than shooting disappointment all day.
I love shooting on location. Although more challenging than shooting in studio because of the constant light changing, the backgrounds can add much to the final image. We often select a location because it strikes something for us. We must not forget then that “us” might include other people too. Unless you have permission to shoot in a restricted area, you will run into the chance of people walking in your shot. That is it, make with it. I wanted to do that bridge photoshoot so I manage to get the shoot started early to have minimal traffic (and it worked). Whenever someone would approach, we were moving aside to let them pass politely.
I have to say the bridge portion of the shoot is one of the highlights of this year’s shoots I have done so far. We had no glitches, no breakdown of gears, light was fairly constant, low traffic on the bridge, could not ask anything better. I met Jade and Julia at a nearby subway station at 7:00am. We were thinking of changing plans because it came to our attention there was a major event happening on the island located under the bridge which could make traffic rather heavy. While looking for another access to the bridge, I decided to take the risk and park on the island anyway. This happened to be a good move as we got right next to the ramp getting us back on the bridge and the parking surrounding would give us opportunities for more images before leaving the place. Jade had brought a few outfits from 2 local Montreal stores (Blue Dress is from Mosaik and the 2 other outfits from Lustre). We obviously had to use the blue dress for the bridge. From the backseat of her car, Julia started working on the makeup while I went scouting the bridge for the necessary angles I was looking for. It was my 4th photoshoot with Julia so she had all my trust to come up with the right colors and makeup style. By 8:30, we were on the bridge getting to our 1st spot. The morning light was still rather soft and luckily, the wind was minimal. As Julia was on the watch for bicycles heading toward my back, Jade stroked the poses. Her experience and attitude were incredible. She knew what I was looking for and was delivering it. After a while, we moved further up the bridge for a few more shots with a different angle before heading back down the bridge to get back to the parking lot. We had a few timers running; Julia had another commitment to attend to after our shoot and the cars were on parking meters. For the 2nd half of the shoot, Jade ran through the remaining outfits that we shot in very close to each other’s locations. By 10:30 we were wrapping up.
I don’t think I could have hoped more for this shoot. I was happy Jade could be available for this considering her busy flight intendant schedule, it was a great feeling Julia was taking care of the makeup, I was glad I took the last minute decision to stick with the original location to start the shoot on. Jade’s dress tight in so well with the location that I could have shot there all day.