Family Portraits on the Atlanta Beltline with Budget-friendly Fujifilm XF Lenses
On top of being one of my favorite places for an after-work bike ride, the Atlanta Beltline is the ideal location for photographers—an easily accessible trail circling the city with a variety of colorful urban settings to choose from.
When a friend asked if I could take some photos of his family for their holiday card along the Beltline, I knew we wouldn't have to travel far to get a few different looks. We planned to stay along north end of the Eastside Trail and scheduled a late afternoon shoot, allowing ourselves a couple of hours to get the shot.
Just in case the light wouldn't be favorable, I also brought along a couple of flashes and a softbox, but did not end up using them.
The first location we hit on the Beltline was underneath the Virginia Avenue bridge. The light was nicely diffused under there, and the walls of the underpass are adorned with colorful balloons of paint, making for a playful background. We were able to get a myriad of different looks in just a matter of minutes.
Next, we walked down to Paris on Ponce, which has a few choice murals adorning the side of the building, including the ever-popular “Best of Atlanta”. We also tried out the dog mural for a fun shot. I shot mostly in continuous mode to increase my hit rate—it never hurts to take a bunch of shots, especially when trying to get four people to all have their eyes open and looking good.
After that, we made our way to Ponce City Market and took a few shots outside and in a stairwell inside. The interior scene was pretty dimly lit, so ideally, using a few flashes to get better lighting would’ve been preferable, but we wanted to get in and out quickly, so I just used available light. Ponce City Market was pretty packed on this day, so we got out of there pretty quickly.
We returned outside. On our way back to the car, we stopped again at Paris on Ponce and took a few shots on the steps out back facing the Beltline. Shooting in the shade provided even light and toned down the bright colors a bit. Of course, we also couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a few shots with the setting sun. I had my trusty Newer 43-inch 5-in-1 reflector with me, so I used the gold cover to lighten up the kids’ faces and match the golden tone of the scene.
This was a fun shoot! We got the shots we needed and it was over in less than 90 minutes. It helps that the whole family was easy to work with and really good sports about trying different poses and locations. This stretch of the Atlanta Beltline has become a go-to location for portrait photographers, and I can see why—it offers so many different looks within a short walking distance and the ever-changing murals provide fresh backgrounds of which to play off.