Outdoor Portrait Photography Tips

How You Can Make
Your Outdoor Pictures Come Alive

If your latest adventures in photo taking have lead you to outdoor portrait photography, there are a few things you should know.

In these pages you'll get a straight dose of sensible outdoor portrait photography dos and don'ts, and one delightful tip on how to breathe light into the eyes of your subjects.

But first the dos and don'ts…

  • Watch out for the little green sprout (and the jolly green giant). When taking outdoor photography portraits, one of the first things you need to accept is that you do not have control of your environment. There's nothing that will ruin the gentle and sensitive mood of a springtime portrait faster than a tree limb in the ear.

Outdoor Photo Foibles Can Be Funny
But Not if You're the Photographer

Meaning, if you don't pay attention to the trees and grass and lawnmowers in your frame, you could end up with something somewhere you didn't expect it to be. So take this simple advice and walk the space before you begin snapping pics. Look at the area from multiple angles, and be aware of how the background interacts with your subject.

  • A rainbow of color? … Maybe not. While a full-spectrum rainbow is delightful to see and beautiful to photograph on its own, it's best to leave it in the sky where it belongs …it doesn't work in your outdoor portraits. As with indoor photography , color can overpower your subject outside too. The difference, again, is that you don't have the ability to move the raspberry flash of roses from the garden or the tangerine splash from the neighbor's fence. So seek out a spot with neutral or complimentary colors.
For example, if the youngster you're photographing is wearing pastel pink, sit her comfortably next to the pink petunias instead of the raging roses.

Save Your Memories
Spare the Sun

  • Shades of grey. Outside light can wreak havoc on a tidy and tender portrait, if you're not paying attention.

    Too much shade can create a Night of the Living Dead look around the eyes. And too much light can wash away the features altogether.

    So find a spot or a time of day or moment when the clouds eclipse the sun - when the light is as soft as a baby's bottom and as smooth as Waterford crystal.

  • The Light in Her Eyes. Once a popular song by the band Blues Traveler, today it's about how to create tiny flecks of light in the eyes of your subject - that little sparkle that brings the eyes alive and gives the portrait more depth.

It's Easier than You Think
To Get the Perfect Expression

And it's terribly simple to do. Just grab a compact mirror out of your makeup bag (or your wife's bag for you gents who don't wear make up), and tilt it until the sun reflects a bit of light into your subjects eyes. Careful, though, we're not shooting for a blinding beam; we're aiming for a gentle tickle of light caught casually in the eye.

And for a little laughter in those eyes, use the

Smile for Me Toys Birdie . And you're sure to capture that magical expression.

And that's it. A few simple ways you can enhance your outdoor portrait photography skills.

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