I'm a portrait (and landscape) photographer based in Denver, Colorado and I admit, I love scenic backdrops for portraits! I love mountains, rolling countryside, picturesque streams and lakes. But recently, I decided to experiment with taking photos in an urban setting. I've actually always wanted to do this but thought it would be difficult to find a good location... turns out they are not that hard to find. You don't need to travel to a major metropolis. In fact, with 81% of the U.S. population living in an urban area, it's quite likely there is a great location near you. The "urban" town I chose has a population of a little over 8,000 people, but it does have a small "downtown" with multi story buildings.
So off I went with my daughter to see what I could come up with. She is frequently my guinea pig for photo session... my first cake smash, first "chicks and ducks" spring session and now my first "urban" photo session. And I can't tell you how pleased I am with the results! Here's why:
1 - Year Round Opportunities
Many people wait until spring or fall to have photos taken. Why? Mainly because this is when natural backdrops are at their peak... spring flowers, fall leaves. Who wants photos taken in front of a dreary scenery? Trees with no leaves? Grey skies? While Colorado often provides beautiful winter backdrops, you have to time it just right. Photos taken with city backgrounds can be taken at any time of the year! And many people need this flexibility for engagement photos, birthday photos, etc. I took these photos in very early April when the the trees were just beginning to bloom and not very picturesque.
2 - Lighting
Ever hear a photographer say they prefer to take photos early in the morning or late in the afternoon? This is the preference because of lighting considerations. Light during the middle of the day is harsh and unflattering, which is why photographers tend to avoid shooting during these times. But structures in urban settings provide shade, and therefore flexibility in when to take photos.
3 - Variety
Find a great location in an urban area and you've found 10! There is such a variety of scenery in urban settings that you don't have to go far to get a totally different look. During this session I used a couple of interesting wood back drops, a deteriorating brick wall, stairs, railroad "remnants" and a salvaged railroad car in the local park. All of these locations were within 2 blocks of each other... making the session quick and easy. With 81% of the U.S. population living in urban areas, these locations are closer than you think. Remember, you don't need a big city... just interesting streets and buildings.
4 - Fun!
Sometimes it's hard to hold the interest of young kids (and well, let's face it... men) when you are taking photos. Settings like this provide locations to explore and have fun. While I don't forget safety, it's always nice to get those genuine smiles from little kids (and big kids) who are exploring their surroundings. My daughter loved checking out these old railroad remnants!
5 - Interesting "Props"
"Props" are great for adding interest to poses. These steps for instance served as a way to change up the poses for my daughter and she loved hanging out on them! Benches, door frames, and other structural items can also be used for unique poses.
Urban photo sessions are great for kids, high-school seniors, families, and engagement photos.
Contact me at email@example.com to schedule your an urban portrait session!