Taking people photos is definitely not my thing but sometimes you just have to. When I do it will be family or friends because I can say what I want and not worry about what they are thinking. I am not comfortable when asking people to pose especially larger groups. Doing group shots for me is all about location. You can do studio photography but a great location just adds something you can't make in the shop. If you have a great location inspiration will follow. This shoot happened to be family and I got a request to take some location shots. I'm in Pa and they are in Buffalo and as many times as I have visited I am not familiar there as I would be near home. The first thought was to go to the falls. I know Niagara Falls can't miss and I've been there many times. Draw backs are the number of people there taking photos too. There is a passport issue and I didn't want to get caught up in something that may or may not have happened so I didn't want to use the falls for this shoot. Then I thought about Letchworth Park and there are some waterfalls. I have been there so I had an idea what to expect. Unfortunately someone in the family wasn't feeling as well as could be and Letchworth is a fairly long drive. Nix that idea. My family has lived in Buffalo area for ever, raised some sons and now grandchildren. You would think one of them could think of a place. I have done some family photos before at a local park with a waterfall. I had a lot of photoshopping afterwards due to fencing. Since then someone planted trees right where the sweet spot was and being a weekend I thought packed with people. On the table there was a local magazine with the cover of what to do in Buffalo. My sister looked through it and layed it back on the table not finding anything useable. I picked it up a little later and seen this bridge and read the article. I looked at the location of the park and asked where the location was to her house. A couple of miles. Perfect for many reasons. I love bridges of this type. They give you leading lines, things to do with hands, and the structure helps with those who feel they could loose a few pounds. Water makes for interesting things like reflections, flowers or other plants with color. The photo showed pink Lilies on the water. All we needed to add was some great sky. We got there and there was no water because of low rainfall. The flowers were there pretty much on a mud bed. I could hear some grumbling behind me the pictures might not be as good. I ran into a walker and asked about the bridge and he told me which path to take. It was a short distance from where we parked. Again perfect as we had some young children and they may not want to go along with the plan if we had to walk a long way.
There was the bridge and as we approached I could hear the same comments about maybe there would be a better place. What I saw was a great bridge, color, good sky and happy there was little water to help me stand where I wanted to stand. Lack of water was really working for me. If it had been deeper It would have been softer to walk, get wet or have to shoot from a different angle. Cameras have this funny thing called depth of field and if you have to shoot people at an angle you need to shoot at a high F stop and risk distortion of some of the group. So far I saw nothing but good but then that is what experience teaches us, why you need to practice. The shoot went fairly smooth and back to the homestead we went. After I got home and processed the photos I had the one at the top of the page printed on metal and sent it to my sister. Posted some on line for them and waited for comment. I heard nothing about the terrible location and would the photos be good. It was a big hit.
Practicing for better photography, learning your gear, doing research will make you stand out if that is what you want. This is natural light but it can be done by adding light when needed. Lighting will take some time to learn but well worth it
On a side note the little ones loved the place and you never know what may come out of this, a love of the outdoors?