Life Lessons Learned During Portrait Session in Prospect Park...
During this time of year, I like to take advantage of the not-quite-sweater-but-kinda-getting-there weather and get as many outside portrait sessions in before old man winter starts blowing snow and ice all over the ground.
Fortunately last week, I had an opportunity to go outside and shoot with a client, Emmeline, who was in need of some portraits to use for her website and social media channels.
She is a life coach and was looking for images that illustrated her primary message to her clients — that play, ritual, and connecting to one's heart are the key to joyfully living one's divine life path. When we discussed the objective, we both agreed that being outdoors in nature would be ideal to convey that message.
After narrowing down the list of potential spots to conduct the session, we agreed on Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
All that was left was capturing some magical shots...
WARMING UP BY THE BOATHOUSE
Although I am a life-long New Yorker and have past Prospect Park a kagillion times, I've never actually been inside. Emmeline, on the other hand, has been there often, even having gotten married at the Boathouse, so why not make a return trip and see what happens, right?
First stop — the Boathouse.
An added perk is that it has a tree adjacent to it that droops its branches all the way to the ground and provides total cover if you're standing directly underneath it — for our purposes, it's a perfect place to change outfits!
When you're shooting on location, that is always a big question to answer for the client, and fortunately, Emmeline already had inside information on that one...
Lovely smiles with lots of warmth go a long way in conveying a sense of play and connecting to one's heart. so, these images really stuck out over the other ones we captured.
WATERFALL...ROCKS...YEA, SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD SPOT
After we were done by the boathouse, Emmeline mentioned that there's a nice waterfall in the not-too-far distance, so, we headed in that direction. On the way, we had to walk over a bridge, so, we stopped there for a couple minutes. The shot of her leaning on the side of the bridge is one of our favorites because she is naturally reacting to something I said, and I happened to catch her in that moment.
After all, if you're shooting with me, chances are very likely I will say something silly in order to illicit a natural smile out of you. True story.
Once we got to the rocks, I wanted to capture a mixture of posed shots looking into the camera, with some candid, pretend-I'm-not-here-and-look-over-there images of her looking out into the distance — thinking, enjoying the moment, and drinking in the area around her.
Non sequitur, the sound of naturally flowing water is actually as calming as they say...
PLAYING AROUND IN THE LEAVES...
Once we wrapped at the waterfall, Emmeline and I were walking around, looking for interesting vistas in which to place her and continue shooting. We eventually stumbled across the large lawn in the middle of the park, but, what was more interesting was the section of dense trees that lined it's edges, with the autumn-turning leaves littered all over the grass.
We decided we wanted to kick some leaves around and capture some images - not literally, although in hindsight, I wonder how that would've turned out...next time, :)
The log and the bench provided a nice change up to just sitting on the ground in the leaves. She was having a good time moving from spot to spot, and I appreciated the subtle variety that those different locations provided.
JUST WHEN YOU THINK THE SHOOT IS OVER...
As we packed up and started to head for the exit, we took a left turn and passed this really cool looking tunnel. I immediately told Emmeline to put her bags down for a second as I grabbed my camera and started to envision how to effectively capture her in this location.
After about 5 minutes of playing with different wide shot, medium shot, and close up options — as well as patiently waiting for pedestrians to make their way through the tunnel and out of the shot — we settled on this shot:
I was particularly drawn to using the other end of the tunnel to focus attention to Emmeline's expression. The bright, earth tones contrast wonderfully with the dark edges of the tunnel, providing a frame-within-a-frame composition that makes the subject the center of attention.
That was a nice way to end the session.
After 3 hours of shooting in the park and reviewing every shot, Emmeline walked away with a stack of images that is true to her personality, her brand and her business. And the temperature didn't drop suddenly and no snow was in sight!
Can't ask for more...
If you are a business owner and are in need of images to help promote your brand, service and products, contact me and let's discuss your particular needs.