Engagement photos on location, almost always a whole lot of fun.
We love creating engagement photos, both in the studio and on location. However, photographing on location not only presents added challenges but also added opportunities. Light, location and environment all coming together to enhance the feel of a photo session. Photographing on the day of the big announcement is also adds to the excitement.
Recently the excitations crew traveled to Robinvale for the engagement of Vittoria and Anthony. Amazing day in more ways than one. Great couple, surrounded by wonderful friends and relatives. Plus some truly amazing light.
Here’s one of my favorite shots of the day. Down by the river. Glorious filtered sunlight. Plus a couple in love. Life doesn’t get any better than this. I know, we will cop a bit of flack from some who don’t like that Vittoria’s hair isn’t perfect. But… I would argue a moment captured is way more important than a strand of hair out of place. I’m not sure if this was a gentle peck on the cheek, or a whisper in Vittoria’s ear. Whatever, Anthony, you made this work so well.
And now for something completely different as they say. Photographing into the sun which earlier had provided the great light above. Gave us this result. Lots of lovely lens flare. Photographed in the care park of Euston Club. No Photoshop, no pixel pushing, just good old fashioned photography for all of the above.
Choosing great locations for you photo session.
Choosing great locations for your portrait or wedding photography is key to getting a result you will be delighted with. Imagine watching an old western movie, complete with horses and horse drawn vehicles, actors in period costumes….. but filmed on the streets of Melbourne in the present day, while cars and trams rattle past in the background. Do you think that would look the same as if the producers had gone to the trouble of constructing a western styled set. Well choosing a location that works in your portrait and wedding photography is just as important. The final look and feel of your images, depends on your choice of location.
You are of course not trying to match authenticity like they would in a movie. You are however, attempting to create a style and a feeling which conveys a little bit of yourself. So locations are really important. Probably the most important consideration when searching for great locations, is, how it feels. The sense of space if you like. You know, when you walk into a house, you almost instantly get a good feeling or not so good feeling about the property. Locations are the same. You really do need to feel comfortable being photographed there.
Great locations can either complement your style or contrast with it. A complimentary style maybe a formal portrait shot in a very formal room setting. On the other hand you may choose a contrasting style. Maybe the same formal dress style against a background of rusting car bodies. Both would work photographically. Most likely only one would feel right for you.
Then there is the photographic sisde of a location. Will it work photographically and give you pictures you want? We often hear people say… “Oh xyz had their photos there and they turned out great, so if we go there our photos will be great too.” Actually… that’s not nesesarily so. There are a multitude of variables when it comes to shooting on location. For example the sun may only shine in the right place early morning. You rock up during the afternoon and the location sucks. Same spot, different times of day can make a huge difference. Other variables include such things as the type of equipment your photographer has and your photographers experience.
Our models above are Damian and Stephanie, photographed in a contrasting location, on the occasion of their engagement.
We had the great pleasure of shooting with a vibrant and entertaining young couple last weekend. It was kind of a dual celebration, when Stephanie celebrated her 21st birthday and at the same time announced her engagement to the layback and very cool Damian. There’s not a lot to say about the photo session really. As engagement sessions go… It was different…. We wanted to try a few things that were matched to Stephanie and Damian’s personalities. At the same time trying not to do any locations we’d shot before. Starting at home in a rather interesting garden featuring lots of garden furniture that was immaculately kept, We shot some slightly traditional engagement photos.
Then it was off down the street to see what we could find. As you would expect it doesn’t take long for Robyn to spy an interesting place. Which is going to yield a whole bunch of very interesting and different engagement shots. Not happy with giving Stephanie’s feet a workout in her dancing shoes, we then went very industrial. Taking these guys to a place you probably shouldn’t take engagement couples too. Unless of course you want to make great pictures… If that’s the case all bets are off.
Had fun, shot heaps and will maybe post a couple more as time allows.
Take care team.
Final version of an engagement image we posted some time ago.
We’re breaking a couple of rules here today. Firstly we try not to post the same or similar images twice. But this one has been here before. You can check out the original version here. The original version we showed was prety much straight out of the camera. Above is the final processed version.
The second thing we’ve done here is dropped out all the colour from the image leaving only the vibrant red of Camille’s beautiful dress. I’m not a great fan of the selective use of colour in a black and white image. If we use it here at excitations, we generally try to keep it subtle. So that it enhances the look of the image. Over use of this selective colour technique by many in our industry has kinda spoilt it for me. Don’t get me wrong I not saying it bad, or shouldn’t be used. I just see it some many times when it has been used and actually detracted from a good image turning it into something rather corny. But Hey… that’s just me. It’s taken me 30 years to get over the fisheye lens look, that was immensley popular when I first started in this industry. I might even buy a fisheye lens one day you never know.
That said we had a great time shooting with Camille and Stevan on their engagement day and we look forward to shooting some amazing wedding photos with them in September.
Melina and Larry have their engagement photos at Jimba
Cool spot for photography, we get to Jimba two or three times a year. This time Melina and Larry decided not only to have their photo taken at Jimba, but also to have their party there as well. the image below of our engagement couple isn’t really what most people expect of an engagement shoot. But it is a picture that was screaming to be taken. Simple shot really. Wide angle lens, low angle looking up at the building and that’s it really. No alchemy or nuttin.
So while we were shooting engagement photos a Jimba we (Ian) thought it would be cool to shoot some images with a wide angle lens using a selective focus technique. Only allowing small parts of the image is to be in focus is kinda the in thing overseas at the moment. I’m not going to tell you it’s new because it isn’t. Way back in the fifties when they where shooting Hollywood celebrities it was use most of the time. One because it looked good and two because the large format film cameras of the time… well that’s pretty much the only way they could shoot. Selective focus can be achieved a number of ways. Using a long or telephoto lens. Using a very fast lens with a wide aperture. Or using a camera which has a very large digital sensor or takes a large piece of film. Naturally you can use a combination of any of the above techniques. Yup I know you can also achieve a similar look in Photoshop, but why when it’s so easy in camera?
We took a short stroll down the driveway at Jimba to create an interesting series of images with another different feel. Still sorta selective focus because only Melina and Larry are in focus but this time obtained using a long focal length lens instead of a piece of fast glass as in the earlier shot. Luckily we had a couple who where comfortable in front of a camera and with each other. Try to remember always when you’re having a photo session. Get some safe shots and then get your photographer to try a few extra more interesting images.
Engagement photos from excitations, all styles, location or studio.
We could tell you we had lots of fun shooting some engagement photos of Carmille and Stevan but that would be a waste of time cos it’s obvious from the picture above.We did a whole bunch of different things during about a 90 minute shoot. Bit of a luxury to have so much time. We basically did two separate shoots. First at home. Some formal… well semi formal anyway images in the front entrance to the family home. Gorgeous light and a nice 3 dimensional background formed by a rendered concrete pillar. For those images we shot on our medium format digital camera.
Then off to the local park for some more informal images. We shot heaps of engagement photos. Some with green lawns, some with rustic backgrounds and the industrial looking location above. Which wasn’t an industrial location, but if you don’t tell we won’t.
Lifting shots are always a challenge because they require a number of elements to come together for them to work. Firstly you need a man who is physically strong enough, not only to perform the lift. He also has to have enough power left in reserve for the lift to look effortless. Then it helps a lot, if the lady has heaps of natural grace, so that she falls into a natural and attractive body position easily. The longer the girl messes around trying to find position, the more strained even the strongest guy becomes. No such issue here though, Camille was into position in an instant. Notice her perfectly extend left leg. Giving her a near perfect body line, showing off the shoes and note how the dress falls so wonderfully over Camille’s lower legs. the gown may have been designed just for this shot. Which by the way is one of the other problems of a lift shot. The gown has to work. Some just don’t. Doesn’t matter much how you do the lift the gown just looks…. well not right. Then again I suppose the gown designers don’t spend much time worrying about how the outfit will look if someone lifts the model into the air.
If you’re planning to have engagement photos take, we’d love to talk with you. Our wedding couple get a free engagement session thrown into their wedding package. Other times we just shoot the actual engagement session. We shoot really formal images as well as totally relaxed and informal session, plus a whole lotta stuff in between.
Broken Hill photography, always great fun in great locations
We always look forward to crossing the mighty Murray River and heading north to Broken Hill. Not sure what it is about this amazing rural city and its people. That makes photography both fun and visually interesting. Historic buildings, wide open spaces and home for many talented artists. Broken Hill photography is always a rewarding for us.
On one of our recent trips there we had the opportunity to photograph Rebecca and Paul. Great young couple. We are going to photograph Rebecca and Paul’s wedding shortly. Being in Broken Hill, their home town, presented the perfect opportunity to catch up and shoot a couple of engagement photos.
At first glance this may appear to be just another engagement photo. However, the rose bush in the background of this image has a special place in Rebecca’s family history. We wanted to somehow mould it into this image. Worked lots of angles, some more interesting photographically than this one. I’ve included this image as an example of how subjects can lift a straight stock standard pose and make it really interesting. It’s called body language. Not how Rebecca has her right leg bent, toe just off the ground and a slight arch in her back. Adding action to an otherwise static image. Paul’s casual relaxed attitude also adds to the statement that these two are comfortable with each other and in love.
The problem with Broken Hill photography, if there is one is. To many location choices. Better than not enough I know but you gotta have something to complain about right! Our second location for the shoot with Rebecca and Paul was the historic settlement of Silverton. Backdrop for many Movies and TV commercials. Home to a whole bunch of talented artists and their galleries. Amazing stone buildings and a massive old goal. There are even Camel rides available… but apparently that’s not a good photo idea when your subjects wearing short red dress with high heels. Just a thought!
So how come we shot the above image at Silverton, without any of the buildings or environment. It’s a photographer thing. Flat ground, blue sky, white fluffy clouds and red dress…. lets just do a shot of you guys and the sky. For those worried that I might have lost the plot. We also shot at the Silverton Outback Art Gallery thanks to John Dynon, artist. And spent a bit of time in goal. Fantastic locations, great people….. outback Australia.
Engagement photos on location, always a lot of fun and sometimes a challenge
As time came closer to photographing Sarah and Natale. We became more nervous. Looking at the local weather radar every few minutes wasn’t helping. Out to the West, headed right towards us, a large band of rain. Would the rain hold off? Better still would it pass by early? We had planned to meet and shoot at an outdoor location. An outdoor location without shelter to be more precise. Funnily enough, rain and photography of people go well together. There is something about shooting in the rain that is so special. Probably the light, which helps bring a lovely saturation to colour. Off course rain within reason. A torrential downpour isn’t helpful.
A couple of frantic phone calls and a hasty plan B was adopted. Photographing people in rainy conditions may make for good pictures. Creating engagement photos in the rain, especially when our couple are going formal is another story. We decided to go with locations, while still outdoors, had areas of concrete or timber under foot. As any all of you girls know. Beautiful delicate, full length gowns, high heals and soft ground…. A good mixture they are not.
We spent some time with Sarah and Natale at the Mildura Wharf. Not because it is one of our favorite locations. Just for its hard timber flooring and proximity to the Murray River. After playing around for quite a while with a very monochromatic scene. The tiniest of tiny openings in the clouds gave us about a minutes worth of background colour. As the old song says. “Never let a chance go by Norm”. We didn’t. for this engagement photo of Natale and Sarah we had to use a bit of remotely controlled hotshoe flash to pop some light onto their faces. After all who’s ever heard of engagement photos where you couldn’t she the couples face….. Well actually…. We may have done that a couple of times. That’s another story for another day