Photographing for fun | Close Up + Negative Space

One thing that this strange season has taught us is that less weddings doesn’t have to mean less photography. It’s so important to do shoots just for fun and try new things with no pressure to create anything specific.  We’ve always tried to make an effort to fit in as much “just for fun” photography as we can, and due to 2020 pandemic reasons, our upcoming wedding schedule has really freed up to go out and take some practice photos.  We hope to keep these practice shoots going throughout the rest of the year, and keep blogging about our goals for them.  This one was all about getting close up and negative space.

Special thanks to Jesy and Indi for being such cool and laid-back models and collaborating with us on these photographs.  This session took place a basketball court on  Lafitte’s greenway, a New Orleans bike trail that connects downtown and the French Quarter to other parts of the city.  For this practice shoot, we wanted to focus two main goals.

  1. Getting simpler shots with more negative space.
  2. Really close-up shots with creative compositions.

Scroll all the way to the end for some post-shoot relfections on what we learned and some cc on whether we met these goals or not, as well as some pointers for how we shot this. We learn the most when we go out and shoot and we hope that this post either inpsires you to get out and practice or teaches you something new.

Here are a few of our favorite images from this practice session all about close ups and negative space.

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Jesy and Indi were so gracious to patiently model for us as we experimented with different angles, shutter drag, and shooting very up close to them.  The soft lighting at sunset made it possible for us to get a variety of different angles and experiment with softer direct light.

Here’s some self constructive criticsm (CC) reflecting on our goals for the shoot:

  1.  Our first goal was to get photogrpahs with more negative space.  If you’re a photographer who’se ever built a website, you already know that negative space is just great for graphic design.  We’ve always loved negative space in photographes, but sometimes forget about it when we’re on the spot shooting, and this practice shoot was all about it.  By positioning them close to the edge of the concrete and shooting down and back onto the concrete, we were able to use the ground as some negative space.  We also had them stand on bleachers, shooting up towards the sky, which gave us another opportunity to get some extra negative sky space.  These photos have more negative space than our photos typically do, but looking back on the shoot now, a wider lense would’ve been useful to help us compose with more negative space.  These were all taken with a 50mm, but we’ll try using a 35mm next time we’re composing with more negative space.
  2. Goal #2 was to just get creative with close up shots.  Typically when photographing for clients, we like to really keep an eye what’s cropped in and what’s cropped out (especially when it comes to faces), but this shoot was just to experiment, so we took some cropping risks that we might not take at a session with clients. Typically, we lock our apertures to around 2.0 for portrait sessions, but we really challenged ourselves to shoot wide open (1.2) with our 50mm for sunset shots.  Open apertures really added some interest to the close up shots and I’ll carry that lesson on to future shoots.

This practice shoot taught us a lot and if it taught you somehting or inspired you to go out and take your own close up and negative space photos, let us know in the comments!

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