Taking Photographs Outside
by Teresa, The CuteKid™ Staff
Many times a superior photograph can be taken outside than inside. Outside lighting is often
better and different interesting locations can be used. But when you are taking
photographs outside it is important to keep in mind these three points: location,
lighting, and composition.
Outdoor photography tips: Location
The location of your shot is important. Choose a location that is not cluttered. A tree, bush,
or grass makes a good background. Or choose a place that has a few interesting features like a
large rock or a fountain. One of my favorite wedding photographs is of my husband and I in
front of a large fountain.
It is important that when you pick a location that you eliminate things in the background that
will call attention away from the person in the picture. Remember the focus should be on the
person not the scenery. Sometimes scenery can frame a picture. My husband took a beautiful
picture of the San Francisco Bay. I like it because the branches of a tree frame the top and
one side of the picture.
Your photo should exhibit a certain mood or idea. So take time to make sure that the
location you choose helps portray the desired mood or idea. If you want a picture that
is playful choosing a field of daisies would be a better location than a large rock.
Outdoor photography tips: Lighting
Outdoor shots are usually best taken when the sun is not directly overhead. Because at
that time the light is coming directly down and bouncing straight back up. It does not
reflect off and around objects. Early morning or evening is usually the best time for
outdoor photos. A cloudy day is also good, because the light is diffused as it comes
through the clouds.
Shade can also be a good thing because it prevents shadows from falling on the face
of the person you are photographing. Sitting under a tree diffuses the light and
makes it less harsh. It also helps because the person you are photographing will
not want to squint. Making the photo seem more natural and relaxed. But remember
you do need enough light for your camera to capture the image, this is
especially important when using a digital camera.
If you find that there are shadows in your photograph you might want to consider
using a reflector. That doesn't mean that you need to go out and buy one. A white
t-shirt or piece of poster board can be used to reflect the light onto your
subject's face. Just get someone who is not going to be in the picture to hold the
poster board until there are no shadows. This may cause your subject to squint. So
have them shut their eyes until you say three. Then they open their eyes and you
snap the picture.
Outdoor photography tips: Composition
Take time to set up your picture so it portrays the mood or idea that you want
to share. Use different angles; children often photograph better when you get
down low and look up at them. Try getting closer, this will capture greater
detail. Don't worry about capturing the scenery instead focus on the person. My
husband and I differ greatly in how we take pictures. He likes to get in the
background, leaving a lot of space around the people. I like to get up close
and have the person fill up the entire picture.
You might try having the person in the picture to the side of the frame
instead of always in the center. Try and get the person to look at the
camera, although I have taken pictures when my children weren't looking for
a different touch. If you want to show a relationship between people position
them close to each other. Leaving gaps between them separates them. As you are
photographing pay attention to what will be caught in the corners or edges
of your photo. You don't want a bright red object in the corner because it
will detract from the subject in the photo.
Barbara Tyroler, professor of photography at the University of Maryland
reminds people, "All graphic information should lead the viewer to the
subject of the photo, not away from it. No one should have to guess what
the picture is about."