Monday, May 5, 2014

Uno, Dos, Tres, ¡Sonríe!


Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone! Or, for your Star Wars nerds out there, today is Revenge of the 5th (the day after May 4th - "May the fourth be with you.") Dorkiness aside, I'm just happy the weather is finally nice again. And with warmer, sunnier weather, Jaimie and I have been able to shoot outside, taking advantage of the warm natural light and beautiful array of colors that Asheville in bloom has to offer. 

For me, outside shoots (especially in the spring) are all about color. Not only do the clothes saturated in bright hues come out when the weather gets warm, but the green and flowery scenery makes for the perfect backdrop for outdoor portraits. 

The trick with all the color is to create a balance so that the photos are vividly colorful without being overwhelming and cluttered. A couple years ago one of my professors taught us about "color key," as he called it, where dissimilar objects in a photo are the same color, creating a connection where there otherwise wouldn't be one. So for the first outfit (all black with the gray and yellow purse) I immediately remembered the lesson and set out to position Jaimie -unbeknownst to her! -  so that the yellows of the purse connected to those of the "no parking" paint and fire hydrant, and the black outfit refered to the black and gray asphalt. It may not be every model's dream to allude to a street, but I think the color key makes for a simple yet beautiful color scheme.

On the opposite end, I also love contrasting colors, and Jaimie's pink dress easily stood out from the yellows and greens of the foliage. We did this particular shoot right beside Montford Park in front of a couple historic buildings, and the architecture there was a serendipitous find in terms of back drops. Although Jaimie's outfit was decidedly modern, the light airiness of it blended nicely, especially with the bench scene under the tree, as the soft backdrops brought out her femininity.

Of all of the shoots we have done, this last outfit was by far my favorite. Until now, we haven't done any "lying down" poses, but I do believe we're onto something. Though I've been very happy with many photos previously, these are the first I might venture to label "editorial." Whether it's Jaimie's elongated limbs posed elegantly on top of a very uncomfortable stone wall, the odd angles of the photos with a more intimate perspective, or simply the flatter, yellower tones mimicking magazine tear sheets, these next two photos are by far my favorites.

This shoot goes to show that you don't need professional equipment and fancy backdrops to create beautiful and elegant portraits. "¡Sonríe!" means "smile," and I'm certainly smiling at the prospect of more outdoor shoots.