I did another couple portrait shoot in DUMBO, Brooklyn in early November. It turned out to be a gorgeous day out after rescheduling the shoot a few times due to weather and scheduling issues. DUMBO is such a great location for getting that classy NY look to your portraits. Wether you are on Washington Street at the famous scene of Once Upon A Time In America, a movie starring Robert De Niro, or on Plymouth Street with the view of the impressive Brooklyn Bridge in the background, there is no doubt that DUMBO is one of the most spectacular locations for NYC portraits. On the day of our photo shoot there was a considerable amount of construction work going on in various streets, but by carefully framing the photos and using shallow depth of field to our advantage we were still able to get satisfying results. This is why I love my Canon telephoto zoom lens; it allows me quickly to zoom in and out to crop the shots to my liking without running back and forth. It also allows me to shoot from a comfortable distance relative to my clients, which encourages them to interact more freely by keeping my lens out of their personal space. There are moments though when I find the wide angle lens irreplaceable; like when I want to include that stunning Manhattan landscape in the shot with my clients. This kind of a shot really gives a sense of location and space. After all, if you only want to have stunning shots of your clients, you might as well be shooting in the studio. Wide angle lens gives you both, a sort of cityscape-portrait. But you do need to use extra caution when shooting portraits with the wide angle lens due to the fact that it distort the proportions at the edges of the lens. Ladies love it when a wide angle lens makes their feet look longer than they actually are, but not so much when the lens stretches their shoulders or face out of proportion. But when correctly handled, wide angle is a great gadget in a photographers box of tricks. In addition I used two off-camera Canon Speedlites, which my lighting assistant held in a extendable boom arm with an shoot-through umbrella, to give a little extra punch to the photos in the shady streets of DUMBO.
After about two hours of shooting in DUMBO we walked up to the Brooklyn Bridge and did another session up there. On any given day the Bridge can get crowded by tourists as well as local bicyclists who don’t look favorably on pedestrians wondering on the biker lane, so take extra precautions when walking and working in that environment. But if you and your clients can weather it, you will be rewarded with some stunning and uniquely NY portraits. In addition to the regular hassle, we got literally swarmed by about a hundred school students this time. At first it seemed it was a bit too crowded to get any decent shots but thanks to my Canon telephoto zoom lens I was able to frame the shots tightly so as not to have any unwanted distractions in them. Also my clients ended up loving the few shots that had some Jewish school students in them:) Shooting outdoors in NYC is always unpredictable and in my opinion the best strategy is to go with the flow and try to use any random distractions to your advantage. After all, its all a part of living in this wonderfully crazy city. Its like Taylor Swift sings in Welcome To New York, “Like any great love, it keeps you guessing. Like any real love, it’s ever changing. Like any true love, it drives you crazy. But you know you wouldn’t change anything, anything, anything… Welcome to New York.” And this is why we all love (and sometimes hate) this city so passionately.