Many people refer to California’s famous grape-growing region simply as ‘Napa’. However, there are actually several towns that make up this part of the state. Julia and Rob asked me to meet them in Calistoga for their pre-wedding photos. They were excited about the fall colors and they already had a few locations already in mind. I love several of the images from our session. In the end, this one earned a Wine Country Engagement photos award from the WPJA. In keeping with my commitment in a previous post, this post is a chance to look at the photo a little more closely.

One of strengths of this photo is the amazing color in the vineyard. Before this I had no idea grapevines could look like this. In fact, the entire valley was a patchwork of different colors. I imagine the colors varied according to grape variety, but I don’t know for sure. At any rate, the deep red tones were an obvious choice for a backdrop. Julia and Rob’s clothing are a good fit for the canvas. Rob’s rose-colored shirt complements the reddish hues in the grape leaves. And Julia’s black shirt adds a point of contracts that helps them both stand out in the scene.

In terms of composition, I followed the rule of thirds when I decided where to place them. I maintained space between them and the edges of the frame because I like the repetitive, yet detailed, texture of the vines. Including some extra room around them adds context and a sense of place. I did, however, miss an important visual distraction. The vines immediately to their left lack the same leaf coverage as the other areas of the vineyard. I should have shifted them to the left. And I should have moved my camera a bit to the right. That would hide the thick branches of the vine. Even though this bugs me a little, this is still one of my favorite images from the evening. I think the rough ‘pose’ I suggested works, as they made it their own and I captured a sincere expression at just the right moment.

One of the winning points of a California Wine Country engagement photos award is vivid colors and contrasting the subject with the background.

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