Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Technique Tuesday: Impossible Locations - Amazing Portraits

Good Morning Everybody,

I sure hope everyone had a chance to relax and recharge over the long weekend.  That’s pretty much what LaDawn and I did.  After working VERY hard last week in Tampa Florida, it was good to get back home and just take it easy.

The only downside was the 95 degree weather followed us back up to Kentucky too. It seems we just can’t escape the heat – we head to Phoenix and more hot temperatures tomorrow  ;~)

3 KidsIMG_6409I’m photographing a wedding for a dear client this coming weekend and really looking forward to it.  I received a call from the groom’s mother, Dana, while we were in Las Vegas earlier this year attending the WPPI Convention.  Dana and her family have been portrait clients of mine since 1990.  I’ve been photographing her three children for many years.  I’ve included one of those very early images.  This time the call was to photograph her son’s wedding.  Yes, the little boy in the middle is now going to be the groom.

We land tomorrow, get settled in, then scope out the wedding and reception venues.  Thursday we’ll catch up with Beverly and Jonathon for a few portraits around the resort which I’ll include into a slide presentation we’ll be showing at the rehearsal dinner Thursday evening.

The wedding is on Friday with a brunch on Saturday and then it’s off to Sedona for my private workshop [link] on Sunday.  Hey we still have one seat left if your interested.  Call Jennifer at 800-292-2994 for details.  Anyway lots of things happening…..how about we get on with today’s post!

Impossible Locations – Amazing Portraits

In this video I’m going to revisit our Kelby Training shoot last week.  During that shoot we got a chance to work in some beautiful locations.  But then there were a few places in which we were not so lucky.  In today’s tutorial we will visit one such area.

The entire shoot at the Kapok Gardens began very well.  The first location was ideal for the kind of techniques I wanted to demonstrate.  We had soft lighting, beautiful grounds – everything went very well.

I finished up my shooting and then proceeded to check out a few more areas where I thought we could capture some nice portraits.  We had Greek columns, flowing fountains, beautiful gardens – AND we had this location!  This is where I decided I was going to create my next series of images.

Impossible LocationsIMG_8406I know, you think I’m crazy but the truth of the matter is that beyond what you see at first glance this location offered some of the most exciting portrait possibilities for the entire day’s shoot.

In this tutorial I’ll discuss how to see beyond the obvious and see the potential of a truly beautiful place to photograph.  I’ll discuss the lighting challenges and how I solved them.  I’ll review the compositional considerations I needed to consider to pull off what at first glace seemed impossible. I’ll show you how I had to pose the subject to enhance and flatter my subject.

It’s a fun and informative tutorial.  Why not hit the PLAY button and enjoy the show.


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  I’m packing my bags for Arizona and it’s a lot of packing considering I’m packing for a wedding and a workshop on the same trip.  Remember, we still have room for one more person at my workshop next week [link]. Like I said, give Jennifer a call at 800-292-2994 if you would like to nab the last seat.

Have a great rest of the week and I’ll plan to see you tomorrow bright and early before we head for the plane.

See ya’ then, David


  1. David,

    what was your lens you used for the finale shot in your "Impossible Location tutorial?


  2. That was a great video, I enjoyed how you kept working the shot until you got it just the way you liked. Wish I could do that with my little kids.

  3. Robin from the UK, David that was a brilliant tutorial with a wealth of info, thanks so much, its difficult to find a photo blog with so much free advice and help, I am eagerly waiting for your book to arrive in the post at the moment, thanks again.

  4. A wonderful tutorial! It demonstrates the patience needed to bring all of the elements together for a great composition, superb use of artificial lighting, and the use of Leon Kennamar's (who was probably the most well-known subtractive-light photographer of his day) technique of subtractive lighting,using the SunSpotz Reflector (it is always in my gear bag by the way)-I would never leave home without it!

  5. Great tutorial, the subtractive lighting illustration was great - definitely love the soft gradation of shadow with the sunspot. My question is - were you able to see this and work with it all from the camera's LCD, from just looking at the model, or from shooting tethered? It seems like many people would miss such fine details during shooting!