Last month Rachelle Kathleen and I picked Lowe’s as our unconventional photo spot for my “ugly places/pretty photos” challenge (which I updated to ‘ugly spots, pretty shots’ because it just sounds better). Remember, the whole point of this is to shoot on the fly, in an ‘ugly’ spot, photographically speaking. This month, we gave LP Anderson a try.
LP Anderson Tire is a local tire store, and after we got permission from the owners we headed down to shoot. Safe to say Rachelle and I had no idea just how big this place was. I feel like we accidentally stumbled into the tire equivalent of Narnia. This place was huge! And since it was already long passed sundown, it was immensely dark. Black tires ceiling high, lit only by large fluorescent lights. For photos, it was a pretty grim location. For this challenge, it was absolutely perfect!
As always, we had to stick to our 3 rules, and added 1 more:
1.) We have to work with what is there. No props or extra lighting. I get my camera and a couple lenses, she gets a bag with a few outfit options.
2.) No changing the scene in a big way.
3.) Stay out of the way of any customers or workers.
4.) We have 1-hour shooting time.
The 1-hour time constraint ended up being a driving force in the Lowe’s shoot. It made us think on our feet! We didn’t plan it like that, but it turns out when you have less time to scour a location and second guess yourself, you stop overanalyzing and just shoot!
I wanted to edit these photos a little differently from my regular style. I like bright photos with lots of light. Half the time I blow the highlights and guys I like it that way. I’m not really a fan of dark and moody but hey, this entire project is meant to push me out of my comfort zone, so dark and moody it is!
Lucky for us, they let us come in and shoot after hours, so there were no customers and only a few workers. I’ve included the cell-phone pic of the actual location along with each photoset, so you can see what we were working with :). You can see more of the photos on my Instagram, and more behind the scenes shots here:
LP Anderson Location 1: Stack of Tires
There’s a weird thing that happens in a place with a ton of metal surfaces – reflections are everywhere. Which means they show up on skin, in your lens, everywhere you could imagine. On some level it’s really fun, because every shot is a surprise, but on another level it’s incredibly frustrating, because you’re looking at your model’s face and wondering “Where the hell is that funky light coming from?” So this was a lot of Rachel modeling, and then slowly turning her face in a million directions until I found a spot where the light made sense.
LP Anderson Location 1: Another Stack of Tires
Guys those lights really were bright, and harsh. I shot Rachelle from this angle because it gave me more backlighting instead of it hitting her straight on, which would’ve given me some crazy shadows. Also Rachelle has never met pair of fake eyelashes she didn’t fall in love with, so harsh light will cause them to leave a shadow on her face. We didn’t want that, so here’s our result!
LP Anderson Location 3: A Dead Tire
Rachelle and I don’t really know anything about tires or mechanic shops so we just assumed this pile of tire-related stuff is something we probably shouldn’t be shooting in, so I basically just told Rachelle to go stand over there, be cute and don’t touch anything.
Location Shot: Aisle 1
The second set of photos were taken in the same spot, I just moved to the side and shot through a few things on the shelf to the right. I didn’t post the ‘before’ picture on these because it’s super similar to the ‘after’ shot. But you can see it on my before/after Instagram if you’d like!
Then we turned to the right and found a big metal coily thing, which I have been informed by Instagram friend @markus_w3 is a tire cage you use to air up flat tires. So we shot in that too! I didn’t mind the ‘before’ shot too much, but the point of this was to try my hand at a bit more dark and moody images, so I tried to add that in post.
LP Anderson Location
4: Wait For It…Another Stack of Tires
This was probably the most challenging spot of all. The light was super bright and the tires were super dark. It made it difficult to accurately meter in camera. I exposed for the shadows and just went with it. This ended up being my favorite shot of the day!
This was definitely a difficult location, but I’m glad we shot there. A tire store is a strange combination of super dark and super bright, so it was fun to adapt to it! It was also fun to edit something a little different than my usual style!
Make sure to subscribe HERE for my next “ugly” location shoot (and receive 100 free Photoshop Actions), and follow me on Instagram or Facebook to see more from this shoot and some of my underwater work. You can also follow me here to see all my before and after shots, and Rachelle Kathleen here to see more of her modeling and makeup projects!
If you try this challenge for yourself and post any of your photos on Instagram, tag #jennamartinchallenge – I’d love to see what you come up with! And don’t forget to comment below any “ugly” location ideas, I might use yours on the next shoot!