As with so many things creative and visual, your location can make or break a shoot.
In this day and age of Instagram and other social media, it is increasingly easy to find a plethora of cool spots, but increasingly difficult to find spots that have not been overshot to death. You want to shoot cool spots, but as a photographer you also want to stand out and not be doing the same trendy shots as everyone else.
For this shoot, my friend B-Boy Jun (@jun_gdft) and I decided to check out the Osanbashi Hall in Yokohama. It has a unique wood-planked rooftop with a variety of architecture, and it’s open to the public. It seems that it is a popular spot for golden-hour wedding photos, but I had not seen it used for breakdance photos in the past, so I was excited to check it out.
I arrived a little before B-Boy Jun, so I decided to wander the area and find some cool angles and backgrounds that would be good to use during our shoot. Often, with these kinds of shoots, I only have a limited time to shoot, so even a five-minute location check before it starts can save tons of time in the long run.
I always try to find four to five spots or angles in a particular location that I would like to shoot, and then just run through them as we go. Of course, if I discover new spots or have new ideas along the way, that is super cool as well. But it is always best to have a few specific spots in mind before you even take your first image.
One location that caught my eye right off the bat was an area with these large objects in the middle. I am not really sure of their intended purpose — maybe they were there to block the wind or something like that. But I thought they had an interesting shape and made a cool pattern I could use in the image. Also, their position at the top of the rolling roof allowed me to shoot lower and use the rooftop to block out many things in the background that I was feeling could be a distraction if I was to shoot at a higher angle and leave them in.
It can’t be done for every picture at every location, but as much as I can I like to keep backgrounds uncluttered to allow for a clean image. It is very easy to get excited about shooting an athlete with amazing action and forget to take a second to focus on your background, only to notice a bunch of things that take away from your image. And most of the time these things can be easily avoided by taking your time and watching your background when shooting.
As I had a rather clear idea of what I wanted to shoot at this first location, it didn’t take long to get a few images I was happy with. I think the hardest part was getting Jun in the exact spot I wanted, because he was jumping in the shot. But this communication with my subject is something I always find interesting and is an enjoyable part of the shooting process.
From there, we went on to shoot another four to five spots, all within a few dozen meters of each other. Please check out the video if you would like to see how the other spots went, and for an interesting BTS view of how I shoot and communicate with those I shoot.
Photographer: Jason Halayko (@jason_halayko)
Model: B-Boy Jun
Place: Osanbashi Hall, Yokohama
Camera: Shot on Nikon D5
Lens: Nikon 105mm/1.4 lens
Shutter speed: 1/8000s
Flash: with off camera strobe from a Broncolor Siros L 800
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