It was dark. The morning air smelled of the rain that had sung me to sleep the night before. I was reluctant to leave the cocoon I had made myself in bed as I stumbled to my truck, camera in hand.
"So tired, will coffee even help at this point?" I thought to myself, driving down a deserted road that normally bustles with the roar of single occupant cars all going to the same place.
The week prior, I had booked a photo session with multiple clients; a realtor, a music artist, a fitness trainer. Three different styles in one location, the challenge excited me; however, not enough to wake me up.
Piedmont park is quiet just after dawn on a Saturday morning. The sea of cars isn't flowing and the constant noise of construction has yet to begin. We walked clumsily into the park heading toward a spot I had scouted a lifetime ago. Passing a morning workout group of about 20 people doing situps on grass damp from rain and morning dew, our crew reached our location.
The skyline behind us was perfectly lit from the rising sun. I set up an off camera flash with an umbrella to deflect and diffuse the flash onto the subject. For warm ups I had each person pose how they wanted to, getting them more comfortable in front of the camera. Lenses and lights can intimidate - play some music keep the mood light and people realize we're just having a good time.
Once out of the awkward beginning stage and into the fun photo sesh stage, the pictures started to come out wonderfully.
"I want to look cool," said the rapper.
"Make me look like a boss, just like king of the city," the realtor had suggested to me.
"I want to promote my training business and show my results to my clients," said the trainer.
After capturing each of looks in the skyline, I had spotted an interesting architectural feature and moved there. The sun had moved up in the sky some, creating a backlight and some incredible flares. I filled my subjects with a reflector and my flash and got some really artistic shots.
Before long, the sun had risen too high in the sky and I called the shoot a wrap. The light was harsh and shadows were apparent, but mostly I was starting to sweat. People had begun to gather in the park, walking their dogs talking about where to have brunch. Children jumping into the pool and screaming (as one does while jumping into water) could be heard across the track.
One of the perks of drinking hot coffee in the summer is that it's still warm when you leave it in your truck for hours. I took a sip and headed out to edit the photos.
Check out the full sets on my photo page!