How to choose a great portrait location
You have to ask first if the photo location helps with the story you are trying to tell. When I am hired to create a family portrait or weddings I always ask the if there’s anywhere they like to go that they are fond of, a location to which they have an emotional connection. Sometimes they are very proud of their home or green garden and we do the session right there. Other days it will be in a park where they walk their dog or they go picnicking on a hot summer day. This way it is far more meaningful to everyone than some sanitized image on a white background or brick wall.
Our goal is to try to choose a location that helps tell the story of the people in the portrait and recall memories upon looking. Advices are provided by the London Wedding Photographer – Two Hearts Photography
Open Shade Areas
Every day a bride tells me they are praying for a sunny wedding day on their wedding I don’t have the heart to tell them I’m hoping for a lightly diffused cloud cover with few dashes of sunlight upon my request.
Direct sunshine causes very harsh shadows, especially in the most important part of the person – the eyes.
Shade is good because it doesn’t have the harsh sunlight falling directly on the person, because the shade is ‘open’ it means there is still enough light to lightenthe eyes and give them some sparkle.
A tree in the park is a perfect example of an open shade, so is a window .
Get Led By The Lines
Leading lines are usually very helpful to portrait photographers as they are to landscape photography. They create a depth, they lead you towards the subject and give the image a 3D feel.
You can usually use fences, paths, a twisting tree branch, lines in a field – anything that draws the towards the model.
If your subject’s position is back-lit it leaves behind them a beautiful mosaic of green twinkles, sprinkles and star behind your subject if you use a low aperture on your camera, below f4 or even 2.8
Backlit subjects like this are often wise to use spot metering to help your camera expose correctly for the face and avoid having a silhouette. Using a reflector to bounce some extra light into their face will help even more.
Barn doors may not always sound like a awesomely exciting background, but natural, rough textures can help the smoothness of your subject’s skin pop out of the photos. We also enjoy very much rustic walls and the repeating parallels lines and textures.
Our minds enjoy order. We like to solve the pieces of the puzzle that fit together, which is why we get so annoyed when putting together IKEA furniture! That is why our minds like the elements of a photo to fit perfectly together like a completed puzzle. I look for rectangles, circles, pyramids and squares and imagine the image in a way that fit together in a perfect harmony.
When actually you start looking for certain shapes you will start seeing them everywhere. Shapes are often the base of modern art and when you deconstruct them many great photos into line drawings they’ll often look just like that.
Subject, background and foreground
To give your images depth and a 3D feel you need the viewer’s eye to find interest in the front, middle and background of the photo. Diffused blades of grass could be the foreground, a smiling toddler can be the mid-ground and sunlight sparkling through a tree could be the background.
Trees And Leaves
Most people love the effect that you get when photographing happy people in an avenue of green leaves and trees, using a long lens, especially after 85mm, because it checks almost all the boxes in one get go. The green leaves usually provide the very necessary shade while the brown path provides a lead in straight line and creates much needed depth in the photo composition. Long lens help produce an amazing tunnel vision effect that beautifully draws you in and greatly helps to frame the image, along with the trees.
Next time when you decide to photograph anyone feel free to use these photography tips and place your subject in the best possible position to ensure great natural light and amazing composition. If you might have any questions then we’ll be happy to answer them below in the comment section!!!