Photos of the Week


Eye-Catching Portraits and Photos of the Week for Oct. 2 

October 2, 2023

By Hillary Grigonis

Portraits and landscapes are traditionally two separate photography genres. But landscape portraits celebrate both genres — and often add a big wow factor. This week, we feature five photographs that celebrate both person and place from artists Hugh Whitaker, Kelly Miller, Steve Cowell, Cat-Ekkelboom-White, and Maria Hildebrand. 

Hugh Whitaker, Hugh Whitaker Photography 

© Hugh Whitaker

Often, timing can be key to getting the perfect light on the landscape — but timing was even more essential to this shot by Hugh Whitaker (@hughwhitakerphotography). The photographer explained that he had the idea for this shot in his head for about a year. But the sand bar leading to the lighthouse only appears during the lowest tides and only for about 30 minutes. Timing the shot right also meant waiting for a day with low winds or waves and getting up at 4:30 in the morning. He captured the shot with the DJI Mavic Mini 3. 

“This was shot with a drone. Sometimes coordinating a shot from a distance and giving directions whilst also flying a drone can be a little tricky,” he said. “It was also a cold morning, so we wanted to get this done quickly!” 

Kelly Miller, Kelly Miller Studios 

© Kelly Miller

For this shot, Kelly Miller of Kelly Miller Studios was inspired by the couple’s vision for a “top of the world” destination elopement. Miller explained that she wanted to capture the 360 views of the mountains that this location offered. The wind in the bride’s dress also helped inspire this image, which was captured with a Sony a7 II and the Tamron 35-150mm f2-2.8. 

“Preserving the mountains and creating depth can be a challenge,” she said. “We were in bright afternoon sun and the weather was chilly, so I was working to focus on capturing a wide variety, pulling in the views and the couple as we worked quickly to do portraits.”  

Steve Cowell, Steve Cowell Photo 

© Steve Cowell

When the scenery inspires a portrait, that doesn’t necessarily mean the landscapes have to dominate the image. In this portrait by Steve Cowell (@stevecowell_photo), the sand dunes serve as a minimalist base, highlighting the subject with negative space. Cowell said that the winds made this particular session a challenge, but the billow of her dress worked perfectly with the lines of the sand dunes. He captured the shot using the Canon 5D Mark IV and the Canon 50mm f1.2L. 

“I’ve always loved negative space and wide-angle images for as long as I’ve been doing this professionally,” he said. “My concerns are always how to make interesting use of the lines in the shot.  I want the viewer to be drawn into the subject of the image.  In this case, it was easy with the lines of the dunes bringing you straight to the subject in the red dress.” 

Cat Ekkelboom-White, Wild Connections Photography 

© Cat Ekkelboom-White

When capturing portrait landscapes, drawing attention to the couple and not just the stunning scenery can be a challenge. Cat Ekkelboom-White of Wild Connections Photography looks for negative space in order to frame the couple within the scenery. While shooting in a nearby spot, she spotted the clouds rolling in and moved the couple in order to frame them with the clouds rising around them. She captured the shot with the Fujifilm X-T5 and XF 16-55mm f2.8 R LM WR lens. 

“Wide-angle lenses can capture a lot of the stunning landscape, however, even if you’re shooting at a wide aperture, the subject can easily get lost within the landscape, especially if there is a lot going on in the background,” she said. “I love to place my subjects into parts of the landscape where there is a ‘clean’ background behind them, such as a cloud or negative space, such as just sky, so that your eye is drawn to the subject.” 

Maria Hildebrand, Born Wild Photography 

© Born Wild Photography

This stunning backdrop wasn’t an original part of the wedding day plans, but when photographer Maria Hildebrand of Born Wild Photography saw this scene on the drive from the ceremony to the formals, she knew she had to stop there for a few images. The scene’s Sound of Music vibes inspired her to incorporate movement into the shot by asking the couple to run around and have fun with each other. She captured the shot with the Sony a7 IV and Sony 24-70mm f2.8 GM II lens. 

“One of the challenges was that I wanted the couple to move around, but I still wanted them pretty centered where the dip in the mountain is,” Hildebrand said. “That meant that I had to move very quickly to get in the right position. I also wanted to shoot from a bit below eye level, but when shooting with a wide-angle lens like this, I had to watch out for not tilting my lens too much to avoid distortion.” 

Dig into our Photo of the Day archives for even more timeless photoseye-catching wedding photos and portraits. Submit your wedding, editorial, documentary and other interesting imagery to: hillary.grigonis@emeraldx.com