Tuesday, May 28, 2019


We usually do outdoor family portraits at one of several great public parks here in the Treasure Valley, Idaho. We also offer to do family portraits at their homes, if their location looks good as well. But, the final decision is based on MY criteria; I want foliage and/or trees for the background and a clean base (like lawn) and I want a location that has good light at about 2 hours before sunset. 

So, when we were contacted by the area director for N-2 Publishing about contracting to do photography for a new community magazine I was intrigued. I liked that they picked an upscale neighborhood in Eagle, Idaho (Two Rivers) because those are the clients we were looking for, but their business model required that all photography be done at the client’s home or in the neighborhood. Since we were doing the covers for this community magazine (called: River’s View Living) for a year I wanted each one to be great. That meant I had to do location checks at each client’s home and scout for alternative locations in the common areas in the neighborhood for each assignment.

This is one we did in common areas….
f6.3 @ 1.125th ISO 800; lens @ 140mm
This is the image that was selected for that month’s cover. Believe it or not, this beautiful spot is a small divider island in the middle of their street!  Another constraint, typical for magazine publications, is that the cover image had to be in vertical orientation.

However, since we were also wanting to please the families selected for these photo-sessions, with the possibility of print sales, we also did some portraits in landscape mode at other locations when we could.

Here’s the other set-up we did….
f6.3 @ 1/100 ISO 800; Lens @ 142mm
All of these images were done around 7pm in June so we had good light, but I didn’t get the back light from the setting sun that I usually get when we go to our favorite parks.

In reality the “challenge” in these upscale neighborhoods was not so difficult. Finding outdoor locations is my specialty and after all this is Idaho!  With our plentiful water most of the housing developments here put thousands (some, tens of thousands) of dollars into landscaping with huge swaths of lawn on built-up berms surrounding the developments.  And, many of these developments have waterfalls or some kind of water feature with custom made signage.

’Til next week…

Author: Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman

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