Impromptu Photo Session: A Quick Lesson in Making Great Unplanned Pictures

Photos Unplanned; It didn’t matter

I wanted to take a minute to tell you about an impromptu session I did when I went to see my friends. It wasn’t planned. I “just happened” to have my camera with me, and her kids just looked so cute! The backdrop was NOT perfect, the location was NOT perfect. It didn’t’ matter!

I put my 85mm 1.8 on 1.8 and just blurred the background through Bokeh. (

Seek out unconventional backdrops

Some parents think that the location has to be perfect and outfits have to be perfect. It’s just not the case! You can take a great image in any location simply by how you use your camera or where you place your subjects.

In this case, I took advantage of my friend’s white concrete sidewalk and steps. It made for the perfect backdrop.

​Be willing to challenge photographic rules of thumb

And here is another example. Another friend that I was just visiting and “happened” to have my camera with me. Well, I ALWAYS have my camera with me, so I guess that’s important to note…you can’t be ready for any opportunity to take a great photo unless you are taking your camera with you all the time!

Lens was again the 85mm 1.8. (my fave lens) set on either 2.0, or 2.8 for the group image. I was back far enough from my subjects so that I could get them in focus. What’s important here is that you generally do not photograph a group with an aperture of less than 4.0, so I was really pushing the focusing on my camera. And I think it worked in my favor to bend the rules a bit.

Another way to do that would have been to focus on each person and then just Photoshop the focused heads onto one image.

We did these in her backyard. On the family image, the texture you see in the background is a fence. I really liked how it turned out.