One of the most important decisions I have during a session is where to place my subjects. It might seem like a no-brainer; the nearest waterfall, fountain or scenic landscape should work just fine. But much to the frustration of many of my clients, that is usually not where I put them, and the reason is because I am looking for the best LIGHT, not the best background.
So what does this mean for your session? It means that I might place you in front of the graffiti-covered service doors instead of the gorgeous, carved wood double doors at the Pearl Brewery:
Or as we are walking toward the majestic Guadalupe River, I might stop and place you on the dirty ground in the weeds:
Sometimes the best light is not at the edge of the river.
There has even been a time that I had to completely change the entire location of a family session at the last second, because I arrived a few minutes early and discovered that there was not a single angle that would work for well-lit pictures in front of a stunning waterfall. So instead, we went to a nearby church and took family portraits in the parking lot:
The best light is not always the same place as the best background.
If you have a location in mind for your next session, the best thing to do is to let me know the reason you chose it. If you absolutely must have the waterfall in the background, sharing that information with me will allow me to suggest a different day or time for your session to take place. But if the most important thing to you is to have well-lit images of the ones you love, then of course the background is secondary and we can work according to wherever the best light is.
My rule of thumb is: If you pick the location, I pick the time. If you pick the time, I pick the location.
I try to be as flexible as possible, and I use every trick that I have at my disposal to get the shot even in difficult lighting situations, but I can't get great images from horrible light. That is the reason that for me, light trumps background every time.
Until next time,