Family Portraits at Jonas Green Park
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND -
It was a hot and muggy Annapolis evening in July that had the potential to make any red-blooded human a sweaty, sticky mess.
Not an ideal situation for a family portrait session at sunset.
But upon my arrival near the water at Jonas Green Park, the sun had begun its westerly decent into the horizon, giving way to a much breezier, more breathable temperature.
Arriving early to scope the scene before the shoot, Heather and her two boys, Aaron and Peyton, met me at the park around 7:30 p.m., giving us about an hour before sunset.
Heather had been randomly selected to receive a complimentary portfolio building session after she participated in an online contest I held around the New Year.
During our pre-shoot consultation, she told me she was interested in a non-studio setup, and would instead prefer scenic, whimsical family portraits, which greatly appealed to my style. I asked if she would consider taking pictures during sunset and she readily agreed.
Though Heather had wanted from the get-go a family portrait session with her boys, ages 14 and 10, she neglected to inform them of her plans, so they were quite surprised when they showed up.
Having not worked with many pre-teen and teenage boys, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from Aaron and Peyton, especially since they had been in the dark about the session up to that point. But to my great joy, both boys were pros; Aaron with his easy smile, and Peyton with his playfulness that kept everyone on their toes.
I started the session with several light and airy images, exposing for the subject and letting the highlights in the sky behind them blow out. These types of images are great to have and fairly simple to accomplish in a short amount of time with minimal equipment.
A Little Bit of Drama
Once the sky grew darker and the sunset hues colored the clouds, I put on a neutral density filter, turned up the power on my external flash, and started shooting away.
My aim was to achieve a more dramatic sky while also keeping the subjects properly exposed, naturally relaxed, and having always fun. This can be tricky, and there is more to be improved upon, but I think these images reflect a path forward for Offbeat Photographer. The marriage between dramatic landscapes and whimsical family fun combine to create some really special heirloom art to be treasured.