On the Mean Streets of Valpo

I recently had a family shoot in downtown Valparaiso on a bright and sunny day. Other photographers will tell you it is not ideal to shoot at 10:30 in the morning when the sun is super bright but then again I don't have the luxury of time, when its on someone else's schedule. I've shot most of my sessions in "bad" light and so I have learned to adapt to my situation and make the most of it. When shooting during the brightest time of the day you only have one friend and his name is Mr. Shadow or Shaddy for short. That's right, shooting in the shadows on a bright day gives you the best of both worlds. Finding these spots can be tough at times. I arrived a bit early to walk around and see if I could find some spots. My first spot was the outdoor patio at Pikk's Tavern. 

This spot was great because it was in complete shade next to a huge light colored wall which acted as a giant natural reflector. We did a few shots here to get warmed up. It was nice that the lights were still on and the flowers were in full bloom. 

After a few shoots here, I told them to remember that we were always finding good light. So we made our way down the street to our second spot. This was a side street that offered the same shade to light ratio as the first location, but with a large white brick wall (side of building) acting as a bounce which really brighten up the shadows. 

This spot was fun because it was like a blank canvas. The only down side was the cars that lined the street and the cars and trucks that were coming down the street. I had to shoot from the middle of the road in between the cars passing by. It was fun and playful and I ended up getting a handful of great shots here as well. 

After this location we were going to head for the alley. I had walked the alley before they got there to get to this location and found some really cool spots. But as we walked down this street I came across this door way and was like "uhhh this is cool, let's stop here." I really love how photography can turn ordinary objects into something fun. We stopped at this door and rocked it out. I loved the small pops of blue. 

We did individual portraits here as well as a family shot. Its crazy to see the full shot of the location versus what the final shots look like. 

From here we moved on to the alley and I must say I think I could do three more shoots in the alley's of Valpo. (Way to keep it classy Valpo.) The dad told me they use to lived on the west side of Chicago and were no strangers to allies, I wanted to give him a high-five but we kept it moving. We came along this spot with a cool aluminum wall thingy. It was perfect for some "just the guys" shots. The wall had a nice reflective quality that caught some of the color and bounced it around adding a cool effect. (All planned of course.)

There was a really cool spot that I took this photo from that I could have used as well. But we went down the alley a bit and did some shots of mom and daughter. Our last location was this ivy brick wall combo that begged to be photographed. As you can see from the confused looks on everyone face, they probably weren't to sure how this was going to turn out. But the Roan's were troopers and knocked it out on this wall. 

Now I could have pulled them away from this background and blurred the crap out of it in camera, but I'm personally getting tired of that look and want to pull back on always relying on blurring the background in my shots. These shots give a good context of where they are and what's behind them aaaaaand I like that. 

All in all the Roan family were great to work with; they rolled with the situation and trusted me. Telling your clients you are taking their children in an alley to take photos wasn't easy but the end results proved to be well worth the risk...in the mean streets of Valpo. Oh and our entire session was about 30 minutes, from hello to goodbye. 

Any other families or portraits want to shoot in downtown Valpo please let me know, I have a bunch of those spots waiting to be photographed. Contact me today and set it up. 

Joseph GonzalezComment