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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."