Making the Most of a Location - Behind the Scenes

December 08, 2017  •  Leave a Comment



Melissa Southern


When I look at photographs, I often wonder about the location. What was around them? Are they really on a secluded beach? Are they way out on a farm or right next to a busy road? Well, the truth can be a mixture of things. Sometimes we get lucky and have a great location all to ourselves. Other times, we are sharing that location with other photographers and their clients and with families out for the day and tourists and countless other people who want to enjoy that same location. 


Kyle and I thought it would be fun to show you some of the behind the scenes of the locations we are shooting, to show you what we are not including in the frame. Today, I am going to show you one of those places and describe what was actually going on during the shoot.


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So, I manage to produce a few cute models over the years, namely my children! A few days ago, I was with my twins in Chapel Hill. They have been involved in a twin study on Early Brain Development since shortly after their birth. Between the MRI session and Developmental Assessments, we had time for lunch. Rather than trying to find a fast food establishment, I packed a picnic lunch. Lucky for us, the weather was perfect. It was overcast, which I like, and the temperature was very nice. When we arrived at the location for the Developmental Assessments, I parked near a small grassy area at the edge of the parking lot. The kids liked the picnic lunch, and it was nice to be outside.


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After eating, the girls started to run around in the grass. Hannah (rainbow stripes) began to play with a leaf around a nearby tree. I grabbed my cell phone to get a few quick shots of her being her. I then convinced Christina (red dress) to join Hannah and got some shots of both of them and then some of Christina by herself. By the way, these photos have not been cropped or worked in Photoshop other than adding a warming photo filter.


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I had to pay very close attention to the background. There was a small stretch of trees on the right and around to the back of the area with a busy road on the other side. I had to watch to make sure the cars were hidden from view behind the girls. There was also a couple of dumpsters off to the left and more parking lot that I definitely did not want in the background.




And, that brings me to a very simple point. When you are out shooting, pay very close attention to the background. Sometimes you can drop a distracting background out of focus by opening up your aperture, but sometimes you are just shooting with your cell phone and don't have that level of control. By positioning yourself and your subject(s), you can do a lot to minimize or eliminate distractions in your background. Of course, you can utilize Photoshop and other programs to remove distractions in the computer later, but who wants to spend all their time in front of the computer correcting something that could have been corrected when the photo was taken?! The bottom line, it is best to do everything you can to get it right in the camera and then take care of the rest in the computer. 


Keep watch for more "Behind the Scenes" photos!


Happy Shooting!


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