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Andria & Roosevelt: Engagement / Nikon D7000 Pics & Tips on Picking Portrait Locations

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Roose and Andria are a beautiful young couple I was able to make portraits with a few Sundays back.  This was a last minute engagement session, less than a week before the actual wedding!  We got a chance to scout some places for the wedding photos for the week upcoming. I didn’t expect them to be dressed so nicely and in great matching colors!  I like all my clients to be comfortable for the shoot.  Roose is used to wearing a suit, so he was comfortable as can be!

Sometimes, I’ll opt for a place that the couple might not expect for engagement photos.  Often, a client may feel that we have to go to some place with hanging gardens, gazebos, waterfalls, a lake with a bridge, and all manner of wonderful natural or architectural backgrounds for good portraits.

Although these places can be nice, for a good photographer, it’s not necessary to have lavish and extravagant backgrounds for portraits.  In fact, making portraits in a place that has a significant feature like a waterfall or a gazebo actually forces the photographer to include said waterfall or gazebo in the composition. The photos may end up being, not a picture of the couple with a non-distracting background, but a picture of a beautiful gazebo with some random people in it.  Even on the day of the wedding, well-meaning reception workers may instruct me to take a picture with THE fountain or THE gazebo. (Can you tell I’m tired of gazebos?) This also leads me to believe that any shot with the fountain is going to be the same as hundreds of other photographers that have been told to shoot the same fountain.  Some workers even start to tell me where to take the shot from, and how I should frame it. PSH! Not that I don’t appreciate constructive criticism, and I would love to have a helper on most photo-shoots, but really, some people need to just let me do my job.

The couple, the LOVE, the relationship, the happiness… That’s my main subject.  Not the flowers in the background, not the waterfall, and certainly not your hopelessly 90’s looking gazebo with fake ivy.

I would be glad to include beautiful elements in the composition, but all those things take a backseat to the living, breathing and loving people in front of me.

Anyway!  Those considerations (and bitterness?) aside, I’ll speak more about the locations for these portraits after you see them!  Enjoy!

Photo-geeks:  For this shoot, I used a single Nikon D7000 and 3 prime lenses:  Nikon 35mm f/1.8G, 50mm f/1.4D, and 85mm f/1.4D

I had a great time making these images, and lots of fun at the wedding!  Those previews coming soon!

Now, more about the location for these photos – The second half of the pictures were taken in Flushing Meadows Corona park, with the very recognizable Unisphere globe that you’ve seen in movies like Men in Black.  The first half of photos, up to the brick walls, were actually just taken in a schoolyard across the street from where Roosevelt lives.

On first sight, especially from Google Street View, this doesn’t really look like a place you would LOVE to have your engagement pictures taken:

Pretty bland looking, right? But I saw a nice patch of green trees, lots of good shade to work with in the middle of the day, a brick wall background, and plenty of leading lines to use in composition!  With large aperture telephoto lenses that I use on portrait shoots, the distinct details of the scene are compressed and blurred into a creamy colorful non-distracting background.  In Andria and Roose’s case, the 10 feet of brick wall, and the green trees in the courtyard were all that was needed to create scenes that look like they were in the heart of Central Park or SoHo… and all we had to do was walk across the street.

Aspiring portrait photographers! Chances are, you’ve got great backgrounds all around you!  Before you drive 40 minutes to some national park, or some other lavish area, see what kind of backgrounds you can make with that tree in your own backyard!  You might be surprised.

Congratulations Andria & Roosevelt!  Can’t wait to post the previews from your wedding!

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19 Comments Post a comment
  1. David #

    Another breathtaking portrait. You are amazing, Josh. Thanks for the tips too.

    July 8, 2011
  2. Working with a photographer lately, I have to say I agree. The best shots come from the strangest places, like abandoned warehouses, brick walls, odd metal columns. Most of the pictures taken in fancy photography are about the foreground anyway, the subject. Great shoot! I enjoy checking out your photography.

    July 8, 2011
    • Thanks Nina! Definitely true, and I’m still developing an eye for it too! Appreciate your comments. 😉

      July 8, 2011
  3. Hello Josh, appreciated and love your work. Your Style is what I am aiming for. Yes, your lenses is the must be gadget for this field. But using it in those not so interesting places makes a good photographer.

    You encouraged me so much. Remember Im here at the other end, your student.

    July 8, 2011
    • Hi Raycoy! Thank you so much as always for your comments! I’m glad to share whatever I know, because someone kindly shared it with me!

      July 9, 2011
  4. its so inspirative, thx 4 sharing bro

    July 8, 2011
  5. Thanks Adien!

    July 9, 2011
  6. Your work is totally beautiful and breathtaking! Thanks for sharing.

    July 10, 2011
    • Thank you so much Jackie! Nice to hear from another photographer too. 🙂

      July 11, 2011
  7. Miriame D. #

    love it!

    July 11, 2011
  8. Jason Sheppard #

    Very nice Josh! Great tips as well!

    July 23, 2011
  9. David #

    very inspiring, Josh. Thanks as always for sharing.

    July 28, 2011
  10. Thanks Jason and David, so much. More going up today! 🙂

    July 28, 2011
  11. Hello there, I discovered your website by way of Google even as searching for a similar matter, your web site came up, it appears to be like great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    August 15, 2011
    • Thanks for your comment! I appreciate it! Thank you for bookmarking.

      August 15, 2011
  12. Bryan #

    You are something else Josh! How do you do that!? Please keep sharing!!!

    September 17, 2011
  13. stan #

    well done bro you are truly inspired me for further wedding photography

    December 30, 2011

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