Photography in nature is not only a job but also a pleasant pastime. And for the shooting to be successful, you need to know how to create a composition and work with props, color, light, and post-processing. By the way, if you want to know more about how to work with landscape vs portrait, go to Skylum’s blog.
Work with the diversity of color.
There’s a great diversity of colors in nature itself, green lawns, colorful fruits and berries, flowers, etc. Here it is important to your imagination and ability to see. Having different colors in the frame will do the job for itself, but if you put in the effort – you’ll get fantastic photos!
Pay attention to the appearance of your portrait subject:
- If it’s a blonde – she will look winningly against a background of white hydrangeas with lush white flowers. If it is a brown-haired man with brown eyes – a rock of brown will work for him as a background.
- If your subject is a child with big blue eyes – make the background a blue lake. Such analogies can also be made in relation to the object’s clothes, but from the first example, it should be clear how it works.
Of course, in order to be able to work with this, you have to have knowledge in the field of color theory. The most basic thing is the color wheel. The principle of work is the following: the opposite colors in a circle are the colors that are ideally combined. For example, if your subject is wearing a green shirt – take a picture of him against a background of red roses.
Don’t be afraid of the effect of blurring the subject in the photo
This tip will help you add creativity to your shoot. What it takes:
- Find another object in the foreground (flowers, tall grass, something else);
- Place your main portrait subject at a considerable distance from the secondary subject (the one that will come out in the foreground of the frame), and advise you to assume a staged pose. Yes, it may not seem natural to you, but otherwise, you will get the effect of just a bad/random shot.
- Set the aperture to f/2.8 or higher, and focus on the front subject. If the camera is trying to focus on the main subject, select the single-point AF area mode and the focus point you want.
- Take a picture and check the result.
Interaction between the subject and nature
There are a lot of nature portraits, and they are all very monotonous. You can introduce variety through your subject’s actions. Make use of props (a fruit basket, a blanket, an umbrella), preferably natural for the location and the time of year. A picnic in nature can be an idea for your portrait shoot. Suggest that your client squat on a rock, toss autumn leaves in the air, roll up his pants and walk into a river, embrace flowers, or tuck them into his hair. Your subject’s imagination may be sparse because of the stress of the shoot, so help and prompt them.
A combination of natural and artificial elements
How to implement this tip? It’s very simple. After you have flowers and fruit in your frame, use a bench, a cozy folding chair, or balloons. This will add personality to your photo shoot. Even a swing can be an artificial element. Why should this make your shots individual? Because the props you brought are your property, and most likely, another photographer will not have a second one.
By the way, in nature portrait photography, you can try to recreate the plot of your favorite movie or book. Remember the plot of Harry Potter as he and his friends walk through the woods to the tavern during the New Year’s holidays? Appropriate weather, clothing, and props will help you in this endeavor. It could turn out to be a breathtaking photo!
A separate tip or request – be kind to nature! In the pursuit of quality pictures, do not destroy the environment. If everyone who wants a beautiful photo picks flowers, tramples the grass, and tears off tree branches, we will destroy nature with our own hands.
Take a close-up portrait of nature.
If your goal or desire is to capture the character and mood of your client, go for close-ups. To make the unusual shot use the following advice. Shoot with a wide-angle lens in front of nature and natural light. That way, you will take a large-scale eco-friendly portrait. Your subject will look like part of nature in the frame. You will be able to convey the feeling of reconnecting your client with nature.
In order to make large-scale shots it is better to get acquainted with the area beforehand. But if you haven’t already done so – first find a suitable landscape, then frame your subject. You can always make a good portrait out of a shot to scale by post-editing.
Final words about nature portraits
Get inspired, and head out into nature in search of experiences and new photos! Remember the tips, use a variety of props and effects, and do quality post-processing. You might also like to know more about landscape vs portrait; read more about this on Skylum’s blog!