For an artist, creating a specific brand or style is an important part of defining one’s work as unique. One of the distinguishing stylistic elements in my portrait art pieces is the use of dramatic locations. Because I have such an extensive background in landscape and nature photography, using natural beauty to highlight, not compete with, my subjects is one of my favorite and most consistent style characteristics. Many photographers shy away from strong backdrops in portrait work because they are afraid it will distract from the people they are trying to capture. I love using scenic and breathtaking locations to create a statement. I aim at making my images appear as if they were fine art paintings, almost as if the people were painted into a landscape. My goal is always to have people see images I create and say, ‘Wow, what a gorgeous photo!’ Not only because my subjects look great, but for the creative use of props, lighting and, of course, location choice.
Because I place so much importance on the place I envision for each session, I have spent years cataloging and filing hundreds of possible photo op spots and I am continuously finding new location possibilities. I will re-use a location if it is a good one, but I have so many saved that overuse is not a problem.
I had the idea of developing ‘sample boards’ for some of the places I have scouted or used for people to get some inspiration. I created a display of photos of each location choice and then picked out a palette for the place to show the dominant color scheme. This way, people can choose a location that will give them prints for their home that match a specific decor, create a consistent color story for a company webpage, or choose complimentary colors to their wedding, baby room, party theme, and so on. The swatches can also be used to help choose wardrobe for a session. In general, outfits should not be too ‘matchy’ to the background because the subjects will blend too much. Picking clothes that are a nice contrast without clashing with the surroundings is ideal. I always help clients with tips and pointers on what to wear if needed, but that is a whole other topic! I just had this new idea and so my collection of inspiration boards will continue to grow as I add more of the spots I have already scouted. Check out more here: LOCATION IDEAS at Claire Charling Photography