Finding a New Perspective

by Sal Cincotta

Sal Cincotta

June 01, 2011 — Living in the Midwest, specifically the St. Louis metro area, we tend to have several locations that have become quite clichéd. I am sure every photographer faces the same challenges all around the globe. Clients see a spot, or their friend shot there before, and now everyone wants to shoot in that same location. And we as imagemakers tend to fall into the trap of going to the same spots—places where we are comfortable shooting because we know the light at a certain time of day, etc.

Well, in St. Louis, the most notable of the cliché locations is the St. Louis Gateway Arch. A gorgeous landmark without a doubt, the Gateway to the West is a must-see tourist attraction. However, when it comes to wedding photography, it can get old rather quickly.

I will tell you that I avoid these places like the plague. I encourage clients to be unique in their thought processes, and that we should be looking to create one-of-a-kind imagery for their homes. Kristin and Stephen had seen a previous picture I had made at the Gateway Arch and wanted a similar one for their home. So, I acquiesced. 

Walking up to the arch, I realized there were 150 or more people playing Frisbee and sitting on blankets, enjoying the warm spring weather, so my standard shot with the couple standing beneath the arch was not going to work. Looking for the right shot, I had them relax on the side of the base of the Arch and asked them to just talk to one another. And that’s when I saw the shot. I thought to myself, I am up here all the time and never saw this shot. I suspect, after reading this article, many St. Louis photographers will now see it as well.

Looking up, the Arch just seemed to fade away into the sky, and suddenly we had a new perspective on one of the most overshot locations in St. Louis. Most importantly, I had an amazing shot to show the client. It’s remarkable what can happen when you are forced to see differently.

Once in postproduction, I realized the image was flat. The sky was overcast that day and I determined that the image really needed some pop if I was going to position this as a centerpiece image for the clients’ home.

Using Kubota’s Toolset and Textures, I was quickly able to give the image some life. We used the Buj Texture to provide some toning and texture to the arch and sky, and then added the Nostalgia preset to produce a nice warm and muted color palette.
To see the before and after step-by-step visit behindtheshutter.com/blog.


Salvatore Cincotta Photography is based in the St. Louis Metro area with a focus on weddings, high school seniors and professional education for photographers. For more information, visit www.behindtheshutter.com.

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