with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Lavender Festival: Photographing People and Hats

Women artist dressed up for the Lavender Festival, photography by Lorelle VanFossen

When I photograph people and I don’t have time for signing model releases, I take care to hide their faces. This beautiful woman, an artist selling her wares at the Lavender Festival, Washington County, Oregon, turned her head away to reveal the lovely hat she was wearing, which was what I really wanted to capture in the first place.

I love hats, and I love people who wear hats. They are not easy to photograph, both the hats and the people who wear them. If you catch them from the front, most of the time their faces are shaded and the camera can’t handle the contrast between the brightness of the fore and background and the darkness of the shade under the hat. Photographing them from the side helps, but you have to watch for extreme dark and light areas.

Photographing from the back is perfect as you get the hat on the person without the worry of over or underexposure issues. If that is the story, then you’ve aced it.

This woman was dressed so perfectly for the event and her lavender artwork in a beautiful antique dress and this magnificent hat with the huge flowers and ribbons. If I’d had more time, I would have asked her to pose for me, had her sign the model’s agreement, and spent a lot more time arranging her with her artwork. Unfortunately, we were on the run. Maybe next year.

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