Being creative while shooting in the woods
One of the hardest places for a Photographer to be creative, is in the woods. Why? Because everything looks the same! When everything looks the same, you have to be creative with your couple and find little things that stand out. I'm going to walk through Daniel and Kerry's engagement session that I shot last week, to let you see how I try to think different in this situation.
My first thought when taking pictures around a bunch of trees is "get some separation between my couple and the background". I pull out my 70-200 VRII lens (my favorite) and ask them to get close to each other and talk. Usually, people ask "what do we talk about?" I tell them to talk about how awkward this moment feels to them right now ;) That usually makes them laugh a little. Then I duck behind some leaves and use them to add some depth to my shot. I frame my shot pretty quickly and wait for that little moment where they react to what they're talking about and get this shot below.
Almost in the same spot, I see an opening in the woods and, because the sun is behind them, I decide to do a silhouette. I can't get low enough to separate them from the ground, so I ask if they would like to jump in the air. They love the idea and we get this next shot!
I don't normally get that creative so fast, but the opportunity was there, so I took the shot.
A very easy way to get your couple comfortable is to have them walking while holding hands. I normally tell them to walk away from me and stop when you get to a certain tree. Then walk back and talk with each other. This is where I actually have another little trick I do, but you will have to take my upcoming class to find out what it is ;) Anyway! Here is the result of them walking together.
As they were walking, I had a simple idea to have her place her hand in his back pocket. I use the log lying on the ground to be a leading line to them.
This next one is pretty random... As I'm talking to them, I'm looking around (you have to be a great multi-tasker with your couples!) and I notice a ray of light shining on a bench about 100 feet away. I point it out to them and ask if they can sit on it and look at each other and smile. It's absolutely beautiful light and I place my camera in manual mode to make sure I get a good exposure on them, instead of the camera exposing for the woods. FYI, I shoot 50%-75% of my engagement sessions in Aperture priority.
The next one, I just want them to have fun, so I ask them to throw a bunch of leaves at me. Simple, but fun.
Every once in a while, you need to try something different. I wanted to see what it would be like to show half their face on each side of the tree. Not my favorite shot, but I'm trying to get the creative juices going ;) It also allows me to see if they are willing to indulge me.
When you need something different, shoot through things! Here's a couple examples of my camera being on the other side of something that I have to shoot through.
It's so easy to feel like you're shooting the same thing over and over when your surrounded by trees. You really have to look for things that stand out to you. There was a tree stump that looked like it was "sitting height", so I asked Kerry to sit on it. Daniel just naturally went up and gave her a kiss. I left the shot of her smiling in color and the more precious one in black and white.
We had a great shoot, but I wanted to end with a more dramatic sunset picture. I asked them to stand on a rock wall that allowed me to see their entire bodies in silhouette. Since I could see their feet, I asked her to drag her foot a little, while she got close to him.
I know it's the time of year when we are all shooting around the leaves right now, so I thought it would be cool to inspire you to think a little different during your next session!
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