I told her it was more of a practice session for me, really. I wanted to work on my focus issues as well as getting over the idea that I needed the "perfect background" before I could take a picture. I wanted to find some areas that gave me a "little" perfect area - not an acre.
I think we did okay. We found some great locations that I'm going to keep in mind for future use! Here's what we came up with:
First there is a covered gazebo by the river. I wanted to make sure her face wasn't too dark, and that she was in focus while being under a covered building. We did okay here.
I also played around in Photoshop because I'm trying to figure out how to give pictures more of that vintage feel that seems to be so popular.
Next I took her to an abandoned gas station in town. I've driven by it several times and I LOVE the white bricked wall. However...she gave me one shot here.
What you don't see if me having pulled about 10 weeds right in her path. You also don't see the 50 bees that were swarming around the remaining 25 weeds about five feet away from her. I had a zoom lens - I felt completely safe. She....not so much.
I still want to shoot more photos here. I learned a lot about the reflective properties of your surroundings - she was well-lit surrounded by all this white!
Next up was a large old church nearby. The brick is so full of texture and they have a big open area of grass.
The sun was going to be disappearing soon, so we headed home. However, I saw a spot that I thought would test me on my minimal-background aspirations.
A little further down the street we found a huge tree. I was very curious if I could make it work. It was the only thing that was going to give me color at Maddie's height but it involved her basically standing in one large open spot under the tree with very little light getting in between the branches.
Can I just say what a trooper she was? This was right next to a pretty busy street and on top of that, there was a group of high school guys training for their track and field. I offered to wait until they passed in case she was embarrassed getting her pictures taken but she just shrugged her shoulders and said it wasn't a big deal.
We got home and reviewed everything. Then they sat on my computer for so many months. Overall I think I did okay in self-tests. I did have better focus, but I still have a long way to go. I was very happy with our locations (plus a few others we found) and I have a little more confidence in shooting somewhere other than "the perfect tree" location. Practice makes perfect!