Jessica Holden Photography » My Photo Journal

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Project 12 Portraits | Creative Location with Pullback

Our assignment this month was to “think outside the box”: to find a location we wouldn’t ordinarily think of to shoot in, and figure out how to make it pretty. I was excited about it, because location scouting around here has long been on my to-do list! But alas, it will have to remain on the list because between vacation, having guests, and the Clickin’ Mom’s annual Scavenger Hunt that began on the 1st, my time to do various assignments for blog posts over the last several weeks has been virtually non-existent. So, with my deadline looming tonight, we quickly went out in the back yard this morning to see if we could figure out a way to make the “mundane” look pretty. (And besides, I justified my backyard shooting with the thought that of all places, it would be most convenient to know how to make the easily accessible  yard look better than it does in reality!)

We wandered around the yard, and between fences, grass browning from the summer heat, and equally sad-looking plants, things were looking pretty bleak. But the peaceful sound of the little waterfall beckoned us, so we gave it a closer look. I wondered if maybe I could shoot from above to hide the stucco wall and living room sliders, and then open my aperture up wide to smooth out the sharp rocks to render the waterfall into more of just a soft, steel-grey backdrop. And here’s what I came up with! I ended up loving how the grey-blue of the rocks brought out the grey-blue of her eyes.




And here’s the pullback, as promised! The little window above the waterfall is our master bedroom (hence placing a waterfall there in the first place—we live fairly close to the freeway, and the sound of the water helps to diminish the road noise), and the sliders lead to our (very dark because of the huge maple tree) living room. The tree above is huge, and provides fairly dense shade, though I did have to watch for dappled spots on her cheeks as the breeze blew the leaves around. I set up a reflector on a chair (normally I find the silver-gold side too harsh, but today it added just the smallest touch of light to her hair on camera right; without it the shadows there lost all detail), and then I stood up on the other chair to shoot, to keep the stucco wall from showing in the shots. (Oh—and I gave her a towel to sit on; the waterfall splatters a bit!)


As always, please continue on in our little circle to see what unusual location Laura found this month!!

  • Laura Veno - July 11, 2013 - 6:32 am

    Lovely, as always! Great use of a small space! I agree- the blue in her eyes- you have a great knack for pulling out color in your subjects.ReplyCancel

  • Christine - July 11, 2013 - 6:41 am

    Her portraits are always so beautiful. You really pulled the blues from her eyes, love that. Great use of a very small space.ReplyCancel

  • Allison Jacobs - July 11, 2013 - 7:12 am

    Emily looks beautiful!!! I love how you used the rocks to make a gorgeous backdrop….I would never guess you were just in the backyard here. Fantastic!ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne Carey - July 11, 2013 - 10:46 am

    First, I love your water fountain. Second, Emily looks amazing as usual. I love seeing the pull back to see exactly where she was sitting. Her eyes looking amazing with the color of the rocks. Bravo!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 12, 2013 - 12:13 pm

    What gorgeous images from one small corner of your yard. I love the way the waterfall looks behind Emily. You have inspired me to try it with our fountain!ReplyCancel