Quick Tips for Taking Great Outdoor Portraits

Whether you're new to the whole portrait gig, want tips for taking better photos of graduating Seniors, or just want to improve on portraits overall - today I'm going to give you a few pointers to have a successful portrait session! 

This is my beautiful friend Cali that I knew growing up in Hawaii, who recently graduated from college and happened to be my latest subject for a portrait session. If you are going to shoot outdoors, my first tip is regarding LIGHTING.

Easy Tips for Taking Great Portraits - www.mommatography.com
  • Choose to photograph your subject when during the "sweet light" (just before sunset). I love shooting late in the evening when the sun isn't blaring hot and bright; it softens your subject and creates a nice glow. I also love shooting BACKLIT, placing the sun behind my subject. This can create fun sun flares, or just a really beautiful glow. 

Quick Tips for Taking Better Portraits and Headshots - www.mommatography.com
  • It's key to get your subject comfortable; most people don't love to be smiling in front of a camera and can appear stiff and out of their element. Chat with them, make them laugh, create movement; do anything to make them feel confident and relaxed.  It will show! 

Choose to photograph your subject when during the "sweet light" (just before sunset). I love shooting late in the evening when the sun isn't blaring hot and bright; it softens your subject and creates a nice glow. I also love shooting BACKLIT, placing the sun behind my subject. This can create fun sun flares, or just a nice glow.
  • Remember to get the eyes in focus. There's nothing more disappointing to a good photograph than realizing the subject's eyes aren't tack sharp. If you have a shallow depth of field (a small aperture/very blurry background) take your camera off of Autofocus and use your toggle button to land your focus point right on the eyes. For more on sharp photos and directions on how to do this, head to my article here.

Portrait Tips - www.mommatography.com
  • Mix up your angles and have your subject in various poses; sitting AND standing. I like to bring a simple stool or a chair to change things up, have them sit in the field, on a blanket, against a wall... anything to bring variety into the shoot. I also always ask women if they have a side of their profile that they like better to make sure they are happiest with their photos. 

Easy Tips for Taking Great Portraits - www.mommatography.com
Easy Tips for Taking Great Portraits - www.mommatography.com
Easy Tips for Taking Great Portraits - www.mommatography.com

The more options you have to show your client, the happier they will be with the end results. If they didn't like a certain angle and 80% of the shoot was stuck on that one pose, it can be a problem! If you are creative, keep things lighthearted and fun and have great lighting on your side, chances are you'll get some great photos.