Summer is a great time to have a go at some outdoor portrait photography. With the sun shining and longer days, there are plenty of opportunities to head out and photograph family or friends in the open air. Here are some top tips:
Shoot in the morning or evening
The light is softer in the morning or evening, so long summer afternoons can be the ideal time to set up. This will make lighting less harsh, getting rid of those really dark shadows on faces that can ruin shots. When the sun is lower in the sky the light is often more forgiving.
Shoot with the sun behind your subject
A lot of people will try and shoot with the sun shining from behind them into the subject's faces, but while this can help to get rid of facial shadows when the sun is quite low, it can cause your subject to squint, resulting in unflattering photos. To get around this shoot with the sun behind your subject. This will help to diffuse the light and make your subject pop from the image. Use a reflector to help bounce the light on to your subject's faces and eliminate any remaining shadows.
Find some shade
If you can shoot in the shade it will be beneficial as the light will be less harsh and more even, meaning you're less likely to get bright spots and harsh shadows, making it easier to expose for the image.
Think about your background
Outdoors backgrounds can be quite busy, meaning that they could distract from your subject if you're unable to use a shallow depth of field and blur them out. Consider the background for your shot carefully. Is there a large hedge or fence you can use to keep the background uniform? Is there somewhere with a great view, say down to the coast or into the valleys? Try to find somewhere that's not too cluttered or busy for your image.
Use natural props
Trees, flowers and leaves can all be used to add to an image. Have your subject lean on a tree, or sit down amongst flowers to add an extra feel of summer to the image. You could even get them to blow a dandelion or create a daisy chain to add something a little different to the image.
If you'd like to learn more about portrait photography, there are some Olympus workshops coming up over the next few months; Urban Portraits with Speedlights
and Boudoir Portraits with Robert Pugh
. To find out more take a look at the Olympus events website