Friday, June 29, 2012
Good Golly, Miss Brolly!
Being from California, I probably have no business using the British slang term for umbrella; and the Texan couple I photographed in Prague last weekend probably wouldn’t know a brolly from a jolly rancher—but hey, I like rhymes. Or Little Richard. One of those.
Many couples have hired me for their pre-wedding and engagement portraits in Prague, but few have brought their own umbrellas to the photo shoot. An umbrella makes a good prop because it is classy, elegant and has nice lines and shapes. It adds a wide, round shape to the square photo frame, its colors compliment clothing and it is also translucent—which lets the light play. In addition to capturing emotions and moods, we photographers are playing with light.
It was a very bright, sunny and warm June morning in Prague when Jennifer, Brandon and I set off on foot from their hotel, the Hotel Hoffmeister, situated just below Prague Castle near Malostranska Metro. From there, we were free to walk through Mala Strana (Little Quarter), or the Castle side of the Charles Bridge. Many couples like to have their engagement or wedding photos near Charles Bridge, and I have the perfect locations in mind to get the best scenes for a romantic portrait shoot in Prague. At 10 am the tourist throng was already thickening, but I know the perfect spots to avoid the worst of the crowds—yet still get some amazing shots of most of Prague’s most beautiful sites.
From the banks of the River Vltava, the Charles Bridge spans the river and makes a perfect backdrop. I also took the couple through Prague Castle and one of the Castle gardens which has yet to be overly visited by tourists. In the summer time, knowing the best places to work with minimal disturbance is a key to getting natural, relaxed portraits outdoors.
I generally avoid the Old Town Square in the heart of the summer due to the mass of people who are either clamoring to get a glimpse of the Astronomical Clock or dining in one of the many seats outside the Square’s bars and restaurants. However, I still know a few tricks to eliminate people from appearing in the background of the photos. One of my tricks is to get a low angle by sitting on the ground and shooting upward toward the subjects; this cuts the tourists out of the scene while leaving the breathtaking rooftops of the Prague architecture. Add a blue sky and, well, Bob’s your uncle.