Brick walls are a staple in portrait photography. They have great texture, color, and variety. Luckily here in Tacoma, we have no shortage of great brick walls to use as main elements in our portraits or as simple backdrops.
Brick walls are great because for portrait shooting because during half of the day they create a solid shadow in which to put a subject. However, sometimes this shadow can be a bit too much and you may either need to bring a reflector to get a little extra light onto someone's face or fix it in post-processing.
This brings me to my favorite brick wall to shoot by in Tacoma, as far as I’m considered it has everything an area needs for a great place to take a portrait.
The wall is on the east side of the Court A street in downtown Tacoma, right by South 8th Street. There are three things I love about this location.
1. The brick is a bit older but has little graffiti on it (although more graffiti can sometimes be nice too). It’s not totally uniform and so creates a wonderful texture to use as a background.
2. The street is a lightly trafficked one-way road. This is fantastic for when you are shooting if you or your subject are in the street. You only have to worry about cars coming from one direction and it’s not too often that they are coming down the road.
3. My favorite part about this locations is that the large white building across the street works as a perfect “natural” reflector. When timed right your subject can be in smooth shadow while being illuminated from the front with light reflected off a large white surface. This gives the whole scene a much brighter and warmer feeling without the need for a reflector, assistant, or lighting equipment! I’ve found the best time for this to be about 1 1/2 - 2 hours before sunset.
So there you have it, one of the best places to take portraits in Tacoma! Get out there and shoot.