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How to take good photos in typically bad photography spots


  1. When looking for spots to do photoshoots I usually I look for natural light or an indoor spot with no mixed indoor light (yellow/orange light as well as window light coming in). So, for this portion of the shoot I shot purposefully shot in mixed light. In order to get my editing to look consistent, I brought down the temp in editing, orange/yellow slider on HSL, and played around with the blue slider on the HSL slider too. There were a couple I honestly could not get perfect with skin tones, but I still loved them so I put them in black and white.

When looking for a spot to shoot, look everywhere around the location all over. Look for shade and anything unique that may be fun to shoot with. This spot is the only one in the mix that was easy to shoot. It was consistent light and even though it was a wall in an alleyway I consider this spot a cute spot! I just threw it in for fun to show you that some locations may have multiple different spots to take pictures at. Never stay in the same spot the whole shoot, move around and you will be thankful you did.

Above- Harsh Light: This was shot a couple hours before sunset in harsh light. Typically I would avoid this unless I was shooting at a wedding, however, for some shoots I embrace it. If you are shooting in harsh sunlight I recommend to do full harsh light on them instead of mixed light or backlight. I aimed them towards the sun and had my shutter speed super high like 4,000. Then in editing I brought up the exposure, worked on temp, HSL slider- orange/yellow and shadows. Have some fun and embrace harsh light!

Below – Junk Yard & backlight. This was probably the hardest to shoot. I did not want sun flares in my picture so I used my lens hood, held my hand up and shot in all angles to decide the final best angles in editing. I shot on their level and had them cuddle up on the tire. Even when shooting in a junkyard look for depth and a story to tell. Here, my eyes are moving with the tires and them entangled up on the tire provides a triangle in composition which is pleasing to the eye.

Back Ally/Pallets- Small spaces. When you only have a small space to shoot and it is still harsh light outside move your subjects to the shade and bring the objects you want to shoot with along with you. We shot on pallets in the alleyway and brought it into a 4 by 4 spot of shade. There was harsh light around them so I bumped up the shutter speed a little and shot the frame so that the harsh light was cropped out of the frame. Have fun with small spaces. As long as you have pretty good light you can do a lot!

Trash Dumpster: This may not be the year to shoot around any germs, so we did not touch the dumpster itself, but the couple braved getting close to it. Honestly, when it came to shooting this I tried many different angles, poses etc. to see what came out best in editing. The sitting down ones worked better since the above light was still very harsh and more noticeable if they stood. For the crate picture I loved that spot because it had layers upon layers of crates. To me, they all laid out so perfectly that I just had her wrap her arms around him while sitting one and called it a day there.

A storage unit in lower light: I shot this 20 min before sunset. Ideally, I would have shot here 1 hour before sunset due to it shading so fast. However, for this shoot with the timing of the other locations we arrived here later than planned which turns out perfectly to teach another mini lesson. If you notice one side of the storage unit/wall is behind where the sun is setting. For this, move to the other side to gain more light. Usually, in open spaces, I avoid this until blue hour, but in spaces without direct light, you can get away with it usually 30 min before sunset at times. I also brought a flash for fun to try out some low light shots. For shooting I shot at 3.2, ISO around 100-250, shutter speed I think around 400. For editing, I bumped up exposure, shadows, turned down contrast, and worked with temp & HSL slider.

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(C) 2016 Jana contreras photography





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