Old West Photo Shoot
When someone thinks of the Old West, one imagines images of gunfights, the open range, cowboys with cattle, drinks at the saloon, and adventure.
In November 2022, Lerro Photography sponsored an Old West-themed photo shoot at the Old Bedford Village in Bedford, PA. Over 20 reenactors, two horses, and nearly 40 buildings and structures made for a perfect backdrop for our photo shoot. All of our reenactors were hand-picked because they had original and/or accurate reproduction outfits, props, and guns. We do this so we can make sure the photo shoot is as accurate as possible.
The normal late fall temperatures in PA range in the 30s-50s but for the weekend of our photo shoot, the temperatures were ranging from 15-30F with high winds so it was challenging on the reenactors. There was snow on the ground, which was good and bad. It made for great-looking winter photos but we didn’t want our reenactments outfits ruined by rolling around in the snow.
The photoshoot started Friday afternoon with several outdoor candid portraits, group shots, and gunfights. There was a mix of sun and clouds so that gave us a variety of different lighting opportunities. Our sunset plan was to have a cowboy on a horse with a lantern for a silhouette shot. As sunset time approached, the clouds came in and our hopes of color in the sky went away. Everyone’s phones started to beep about winter weather warnings but we didn’t take much notice of it. As it got darker, a snow squall moved in and dropped over an inch of snow. With the help of a LED light, we were able to create a dramatic blue hour shot with our reenactor, his horse, the farmhouse, and the windmill. Many of the photographers joked that they were happy to go home with just that shot alone. After a dinner break, we set up many different vintage formal portraits in the saloon. These included shots around a fireplace, a wood wall, and a black backdrop.
On Saturday, we spent the day taking interior and exterior shots of the reenactors doing various things. This ranged from cooking, cleaning, sowing, and even a schoolhouse with a teacher. We also had several shootouts as well as staged gun firings so the photographers could capture the muzzle flare.
In the evening, we spent several hours photographing inside the saloon. Our reenactors went all out with staging the bar with vintage bottles and other props. Poker, Farro, and other various card games were being played and we even had vintage piano music playing to create the atmosphere. A fight or two might of broken out as well.
Sunday morning gave us a few more photo opportunities both inside and outside. Our final photo opportunity was of a duel between two outlaws in the middle of the town. This photo op made for some of our best photos of the whole weekend.
The 10 participating photographers came away with a variety of great phot0. This is probably one of the best outfitted period reenactment photo shoots I’ve done and I plan on doing this event again in the near future.