It was the middle of October and the weather was really nice here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I had been talking to a family friend of ours for weeks, trying to coordinate a time to shoot images of her beautiful daughter, Claire. Finally we had a day when I was available, they were available, and the weather was cooperating. Time to shoot!
We drove to a couple of different locations to find good light and nice surroundings. I wanted colors in the background that would compliment Claire's skin tone and outfit. As you can see, Claire has great eyes, so I made sure to highlight them in these images. For the above shot, I used an on-camera flash stopped down a full stop to add a touch of light to Claire's face and get some catch light in her eyes. For the image below, I turned off the flash and relied on a silver/gold reflector (thanks to my wife who was holding that) to add light to the right side of her face.
It is always fun to find new perspectives when shooting portraits. For this shot, I climbed down into a dry riverbed and had Claire stand up above on a foot bridge. (Photographer's note: Whenever I shoot portraits, I do my best to make sure that there are no distracting "objects" in the background. In this case, I moved my position to make sure that there was mostly trees behind her head, so that her blonde hair would stand out from the background.)
Usually, when I shoot portraits, I look for a shaded area with a nice background. This spot next to a tree was perfect. The canopy of this tree and surrounding trees gave me a nice shaded spot and I had some nice greenery behind Claire, so that she would pop out from the background. I added a hint of fill flash once again and really liked the results. (Photographer's note: When posing a subject, the first thing that I do is, I ask them how they would lean against this tree, in this case, if I were not there taking their picture. This helps me get my subject to look the most relaxed and natural. After they do that, I might ask them to change a couple of things, but try to keep them close to their original pose. Why am I doing that? I want them to be themselves. I really do not want hundreds of pictures of people doing the "standard poses". That is not my style.)
After shooting a bunch of portraits, we decided to hit the nearby railroad tracks (which are rarely ever used) to shoot some final shots. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I have photographed my kids and others on the tracks before. But this time I wanted to do some different poses. I asked Claire to go further down the tracks and walk back to me. While she was doing that, I fired off a bunch of images as she balanced herself and walked towards me. She loves being barefoot, and I think this added to the image.
This was one of the last shots that we took that day, and one of my favorites. Claire looks really relaxed in this pose and I love the way that the train tracks curve in and out of the shot. The tracks work as an element to draw your eye right to Claire.
We had a lot of fun shooting these, and I am sure that we will be doing more photos in the future.