3. 3 Tips For Outdoor Portraits - Jeannie Marie Scheer Photography

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The great outdoors is full of beautiful portrait backdrops if you know how to look for them. How many times have you been on vacation or out on a hike and snapped a quick photo of friends and the scenery is flat or harsh shadows fall on your friends' face? Here are three tips to help you capture the beauty you see with your naked eye.

Scout ahead for your location. You can actively look for places with great scenery and interesting features, like a stream, a tree covered lane in the woods, an old barn, you get the idea! Pay attention to where the sun sets and rises, this will be critical later when you take a portrait. You can also scout locations by just making mental notes when you are out and about and driving around. Pay attention to spots that would make a good backdrop later.

With most basic cameras and camera phones, the dynamic range in light value between bright sun and shadow is too much for the sensor to get an even balance between them. Your naked eye adjusts instantly between shadow and light so you see a scene differently that your camera sees it. The best way to combat this is to shoot at what is called the "Golden Hour", the hour of soft sideways directional light just before twilight. Can't shoot during Golden Hour? Never fear, that's why the third tip is here!

You can't always work around the times of the day with the best light, you have to work with what you have. If at all possible try to avoid 11am to 4pm, as that is the hardest light of the day to work with. There are a couple things you can do to create a great light on the face however. Look for open shade. That's anywhere that has a large even area of shade, the side of a building, deep in the woods, on the backside of a hill. Another way to work with harsh lighting conditions is to turn your subjects back to the sun, it helps shade the face from harsh shadows, and then turn your flash on so the face is evenly lit with your sunny background. Hope these tips have been helpful, have a great week Lakeview!

Jeannie Marie Scheer

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