location, location, location: pt. 1, in your own backyard / by Ashley Brown

Location is easily the subject we discuss the most before and after a client books a session, and for good reason. The venue for a portrait session sets the tone and feel for the entire session and all of the images that are created. We talk in depth with each client to determine the best spot, based on their likes and dislikes, visions for their session and places that are special to their family. Most of the time, the client just wants a beautiful backdrop for their images... and this is where a very common misconception comes in. Its all about the light... not the location itself.

Yes, there are many locations we love for their gorgeous architecture or other elements, but a vast majority of the time, we are shooting in spots that are unassuming and may not even look like much to the naked eye. Its all about how the location photographs, how the light falls, and how conducive it is to an easy, stress-free portrait session.

I'll be posting a three part series on the blog covering the "categories" of locations, and it makes sense to start with one of our very favorites... the home. More specifically, and because we still have (hopefully!) several more months of working outside, sessions in your own backyard.

Shooting at home comes with many benefits. First, the location is unique and special to your family. Your images won't look like anyone else's, and they will carry with them meaning. When your children are all grown up, being able to look back at images taken at their childhood home is priceless. Secondly, working at home is quiet, comfortable, and easy. No worries about overstimulating toddlers, post-car ride crankiness, crowds or distractions. Shy children are quicker to warm up in their own environment, and wardrobe changes are a breeze.

Here's where the hesitation occasionally comes in. You do not, by any stretch of the imagination, need to live on several manicured, park like acres. The best way to prove this point is to see it with your own eyes. All of the images below were taken in our client's backyards. Normal, everyday backyards with fences, swing sets, wood piles and neighbors.... in new subdivisions, in old, established neighborhoods, in the country, and even condos downtown. Want to incorporate your home or porch? Absolutely. But if you don't want to, no worries at all. I've worked in literally hundreds of homes and have mastered the art of avoiding distracting elements, and instead focusing in beautiful pockets of light and color. Your own backyard is definitely worth a second look!