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Video: Location Tips: Parking Garage Portrait Challenge

When we train ourselves to think creatively, we can find great images out of unconventional locations. While having great locations is a great advantage, we may miss interesting compositions and angles in places we wouldn’t otherwise use as a location. Today, I’ll be looking for unique angles and backgrounds in this parking garage with my friend, Kiara. I’ll also be adding my own flash to create unique effects and enhance the portraits. Let’s jump in.

Gear Used:

  1. Canon EOS R5
  2. RF 28-70mm f/2
  3. RF 70-200mm f/2.8
  4. Profoto A10
  5. MagMod MagShoe
  6. Manfrotto Nanostand

Scene #1:

The first thing I noted at this location was the light coming from the back. This will create a natural silhouette of Kiara.

parking garage portrait challenge low angle

I got low and angled up to frame out the ground. I also raised the ISO to blow out the background and framed Kiara center against the bright spot. I’ll add a light using the A10 to create more light direction on Kiara’s face.

I placed the A10 on Kiara’s left side to match some light already coming in from that direction. I powered the light just enough to add highlights to her face without overwhelming the shot.

parking garage portrait challenge composition

Here is the before and after and the steps I took to get this final image.

parking garage portrait challenge location 1
Edited with VF Presets > Modern Pack
  1. Lower Angle
  2. Brighten the Exposure
  3. Lower Power Flash to Fill

Scene #2:

Looking into the rest of the parking garage, the light against the beams naturally graduate into the dark. I wanted to pose Kiara in front of this for an interesting look. For this image, I’ll be using the 70-200mm to compress the frame and focus in on the effect.

I wanted to emphasize the hairlight on Kiara. Notice that if I photograph low, we lose her hairlight against the brighter spot in the background. Instead, I framed her in front of the darker area to have the hairlight stand out. I also moved her more into the light. Notice the difference.

I added a light frame left to accent the highlight on Kiara’s right side.

parking garage portrait challenge lighting tip

At low power, this is the before and after.

parking garage portrait challenge location 2 image 1

parking garage portrait challenge location 2 image 2
Both images edited with VF Presets > Modern Pack

Here are the final images we captured from this location.

Scene #3:

For the next look, I turned to the slanted pillars and wanted to capture the depth and patterns. I placed Kiara beside the light opening. I’ll only be using natural light for this image. The lights reflecting off the trees from behind also provide great warm highlights on the pillars.


I got down lower to get the highlights from below to reflect right beside Kiara’s face.

parking garage portrait challenge location 3 image 1

parking garage portrait challenge location 3 image 2
Both images edited with VF Presets > Modern Pack

These are two of our final images.

Scene #4:

parking garage portrait challenge framing pillars

Before we left, I saw a set of columns that I thought would make a great composition. I placed Kiara behind them and shot through the thin opening. Then, I framed with the walls and incorporated the windows in the far back.

parking garage portrait challenge adding flash
Bouncing the flash off the ceiling creates a large fill of light.

I added the A10 behind Kiara to light up the white walls. I angled it at the ceiling and hid it behind Kiara. My intention is to flood the scene from behind like the sun.

Check out the before and after.

parking garage portrait challenge location 4 final
Edited with VF Presets > Modern Pack

Here is the final image.


I hope you enjoyed this article/video. I wanted to photograph Kiara here to show you that even the most plain of locations can make for great images. By keeping your eye out for shapes and patterns, you can create unique compositions just about anywhere. For more tips on flash photography, be sure to check out our Complete Lighting Course from our Premium Subscription. Also, be sure to check out Visual Flow for our intuitive lighting based presets like we used here.

Don’t miss our next episode of Mastering Your Craft on Adorama’s YouTube channel next week! If you want to catch up on all the episodes, make sure you check out our playlist!