I FINALLY got to use a couple of really cool (but kind of risky) locations for an engagement session. Leah and Craig wanted their session to be somewhere totally unusual and I had 3 places in mind: an abandoned and graffiti-covered grain silo, a river wash under an old train bridge and the Goodyear airport where jumbo jets go to die. The risky part was that the first two locations had “no trespassing” signs but we all agreed to take a chance and it paid off.
I used a combination of lighting techniques for this one: natural light for most of the silo shots; occasionally supplemented with a single Nikon speedlight through a 16×20 softbox. Inside the warehouse were piles of junk and trash. I kept all that hidden (or at least, indistinguishable) with angles and by shooting wide open so it was just a blur. With the right lens and settings you can shoot portraits in front of a landfill and nobody would be able to tell what is in the background. For the bridge and airport shots I used the big light: a White Lightning through a 20×30 softbox. It gives me amazing light while allowing me to “dial down” the background just enough so everything blends well and the subject “pops.” It is especially helpful when I have bright sun on my background but my couple in the cooler shade; the difference in exposure is huge so the light really helps me even things out. Otherwise, if I try to expose for the couple in the natural shade, the background would be way too bright and lose its appeal. Sometimes natural light is great but not always; you gotta know how to light in any conditions!
The airport shots were really fun; I’ve been wanting to do something there for a long time so we pulled up into the desert area a few hundred yards from a 747. I worked quickly just in case there was an over-zealous security guard but nobody ever bothered us; we were pretty far from the perimeter fence. After the sun went down we did the “sitting in the street” shots on the adjacent road.