Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, California was the setting.
When creating a portrait, I try to balance the elements of the subject’s expression relative to what’s happening in the background.
All things being equal, the background is there to give a little context. As to measuring this, I can’t. What that means is there’s no formula, just intuition.
There was something about my subject that was a bit mysterious. In person, she was upbeat and gregarious. Through the lens, she was reserved and pensive.
As I studied her visage on the camera LCD I started taking notice of the things around her. The flowers, the ground cover plants, and the weathered wood suddenly had a level of meaning that added to the portrait.
In the end, this outlier of a subject/setting combination became more memorable than most.
About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.