Great Portraits in the Great Outdoors

October 24, 2022

Great Portraits in the Great Outdoors


If you have ever photographed your weekend outing, family reunion, or your son's baseball game, you know that outdoor photography can present very special challenges. Along my journey as a photographer in Fayetteville, NC, I've learned some outdoor portrait photography techniques that may benefit those who choose to follow when taking portraits or headshots in the great outdoors.


If you have ever photographed your weekend outing, family reunion, or a special vacation getaway with your friends or family, you know that outdoor photography can present some very special challenges. This is true even for the most seasoned photographer. Direct sunlight can be harsh. Unwanted objects can interfere with your composition. Proper color rendering can be problematic. And many times, good old Mother Nature is just not feeling cooperative. There ísn't much that can be done about Mother Nature, but with some practice and patience you can overcome many of the other challenges you face as an outdoor portrait photographer. Along my journey as a photographer in Fayetteville, NC, I've learned some outdoor portrait photography techniques that may benefit those who choose to follow when taking portraits or headshots in the great outdoors:


1. Keep it simple.

The subtle pattern and color of an adobe wall, the simple repeating pattern and muted tones of planks on a fishing pier, or the uniform color of a patch of blue bonnets, snapdragons, or yellow primrose can serve as wonderful backdrops for your outdoor portraits. When you are composing your portrait, you want your subject to be the focal point that all eyes are drawn to. Busy patterns, large areas of excessively vibrant colors (especially a mixture of different colors), or over imposing forms in your foreground or background that are not treated properly, can really distract from her if you are not careful.


2. Control the Depth of Field (DoF)

The edge of a forest, or mountains in the distance may render beautifully as a backdrop for your subject with proper control over the depth of field. If you have an SLR camera, you can adjust your depth of field to bring the background more or less out of focus relative to your subject. This serves as eye control for the observer of your portrait. The eye is naturally drawn to what is brightest and most sharply focused. If your subject is sharply focused relative to the background, she will be accentuated as the focal point of your portrait. Controlling the depth of field is accomplished by adjusting your aperture setting (the size of your lens opening, expressed in f-stops). The smaller the f-stop the larger the opening of your lens, and the smaller the depth of field will be. For instance, when you see a photograph in a nature magazine of a beautiful butterfly in a patch of flowers, and the butterfly is in razor sharp focus but the flowers are gently blurred; this was accomplished by the photographer using a narrow depth of field (small f-stop setting). For bright light situations this may be difficult to achieve. For any given intensity of light, as you open up the aperture (lower the f-stop) you must increase the shutter speed (thereby decreasing exposure time) to avoid over


Thanks,

- Darin


d2lifephotography.com / d2lifephotographyfayetteville.com / fayettevilleheadshots.com / fayetteville-photographer.com

Professional photographers in the Fayetteville, NC area specializing in Headshots, Portraits, Real Estate, Art, Black and White, Social Media and photo editing.

Serving the following areas in North Carolina: Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, Spring Lake, Sanford, Hope Mills, Raeford, Lillington, Lumberton, Dunn, Southern Pines, Sanford, Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Raleigh, Fuquay-Varina, Laurinburg, Eastover, Vander, Anderson Creek, Wilmington, NC - and all points in between.