4: Finding the Best Locations

Scouting a location, finding the right light, and creating images is part of the creative process of a photographer. During my daily life I often find myself stopping and looking at different locations that could work for portraits. I also pay attention to the lighting at certain times of the day. The time of day and light direction have a huge impact on a location. For example, at noon the same location may look completely different than it looks at sunset. Depending on the season, the same location will look different at the same time of day. You may drive by the same location every day and never notice it until the light is hitting it in just the right way.

It’s easy to spot good backgrounds: waterfalls, weeping willow trees, the beach. But it may be more interesting to try to find locations that are not so obvious. Some of the most important aspects I look for when choosing locations are color, texture, depth, directional light, foreground, middle ground, and background. Because my style of portraiture tends to be classic and close up, the texture and depth of a location are more appealing to me than a “background.” Most of the time I look for small spaces within a larger scene. Using a large aperture allows me to use backgrounds that may not be completely appealing at first sight but with the right light, texture, and depth of field can ...

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