When looking for locations for portraits, I usually look for interesting but well lit spots to work in. So when I arrived at Mary S Young Park in West Linn, that’s just what we did: my assistant and I scouted the park for beautiful spots that had good lighting. Unfortunately for us, there were none. The one big open meadow was full of frolicking dogs, and the other glad was filled with booths for that evenings Art Fair.
So when I met with the Parker family, I was somewhat stumped. But they suggested we take a walk on one of their favorite paths through the park, and so we did. It’s a real forest: dim and green. Not exactly perfect family portrait material. But within a few hundred feet, I found a great spot for a portrait: a weathered old tree. I had the girls climb up in the tree (after I searched for spiders and assured them it was all clear), placed the parents below, and it was beautiful. A few steps down the path, another tree. And later, a small clearing. Add in a little light from my assistant’s flash (hidden off in the bushes to the right), and it was golden. In the same session we photographed family portraits, senior portraits, children’s portraits, and some professional headshots for Robin.
In the end, I couldn’t have been happier with the location and the light. The plethora of gnarled trees and green vines made for quite a nice set of portraits, and we were all very pleased. And that’s what I love about location portrait photography: every outing is a new challenge, and challenges produce interesting results. Furthermore, it’s a pleasure to create beautiful portraits of people in places that are meaning to them.