How to take outdoor portrait photographs

As a portrait photographer, one of the things I love most is taking portraits outdoors with natural light. There is something so beautiful and magical about capturing someone in their element, surrounded by nature.

Whether it's a family photo shoot, engagement session, or just a portrait of a friend, taking photos outdoors is always my favorite. And when the lighting is just right, it can make for some truly stunning portraits.

Here are some tips for taking great outdoor portraits with natural light:

1. Look for soft, diffused light

One of the keys to taking great outdoor portraits is finding soft, diffused light. This type of light is very flattering and makes skin look smooth and flawless.

The best time to take outdoor portraits is during the "golden hour" - the hour just before sunset or just after sunrise. The light during this time is soft and warm, and it creates beautiful shadows.

Another great time to take outdoor portraits is on a cloudy day. The clouds act as a natural diffuser and soften the light.

2. Use a reflector

If you can't find soft, diffused light, you can use a reflector to create it. A reflector is simply a piece of white or silver fabric that you hold under the subject's face to reflect light back up into their eyes and soften shadows.

You can buy reflectors at most camera stores, or you can DIY one by taping a piece of white poster board to a piece of cardboard.

3. Shoot in manual mode

When taking outdoor portraits, it's important to shoot in manual mode so that you have full control over the camera settings. This is especially important when shooting in direct sunlight, as the light can be very bright and can cause the photo to be overexposed.

In manual mode, you can set the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to get the perfect exposure.

4. Use a lens hood

When shooting in direct sunlight, it's important to use a lens hood to avoid lens flare. Lens flare is when the light reflects off the lens and creates a bright spot in the photo.

A lens hood is a piece of plastic or metal that attaches to the front of the lens and blocks the sun.

5. Set your white balance

When taking outdoor portraits, it's important to set your white balance correctly so that the colors in the photo look natural.

For most outdoor portraits, I recommend setting the white balance to "daylight." This will make the colors in the photo look natural, even if the lighting isn't perfect.

6. Use a tripod

If you're shooting in low light or using a long focal length lens, it's a good idea to use a tripod to avoid camera shake. Camera shake is when the camera moves while the shutter is open, and it can cause the photo to be blurry.

A tripod will also allow you to use a lower ISO, which will result in less noise in the photo.

7. Use a remote shutter release

If you're using a tripod, it's a good idea to use a remote shutter release to avoid camera shake. A remote shutter release is a cord or wireless remote that you use to trigger the shutter.

This way, you don't have to touch the camera at all, which will eliminate any chance of camera shake.

8. Shoot in RAW

When taking outdoor portraits, I always recommend shooting in RAW format. RAW files are unprocessed and contain all of the data from the image sensor. This gives you a lot of flexibility when editing the photo.

If you shoot in JPEG format, the camera will process the photo for you and you won't be able to make as many changes in post-processing.

outdoor portrait in nature

9. Experiment with different angles

One of the best things about taking outdoor portraits is that you can experiment with different angles and compositions.

Try shooting from different heights, distances, and angles to see what looks best. And don't be afraid to get creative!

10. Have fun!

The most important thing to remember when taking outdoor portraits is to have fun! Relax and enjoy the experience. The more fun you're having, the more it will show in your photos.

10 Creative Ideas For Fall Family Photos That Aren’t Basic

The leaves are changing colours atop the trees. The smell of pumpkin spice is in the air. Fall is here, and it’s the perfect opportunity to wrangle the crew and get outside for beautiful fall family photos

If there are young children in the family, getting everyone organized and on the same page at the same time is your first obstacle. Your next obstacle is making sure your fall family photos are original, representative of your family, and worthy of hanging on the wall year-round. Make your family photo shoot about your family and your family’s interests, not the colours of the season. Fall comes every year, but if you have children, it’s their ever-changing looks you’ll want to capture, not just the change of season.

Done right, seasonal photos can become timeless treasures to share for years to come. LittleThings has put together 10 creative ideas for your family’s fall photos that will help your photos stand out from the rest.

fall portrait idea 1

1. Bring in the Props

Props add a special something to a photo. Pumpkins and haystacks are the obvious fall choice for props, but think outside of the box. Do your kids play a certain sport? Break out the sports gear for the photo shoot. Does your family love to watch movies together? Think of a film theme. 

Two props that are universal to memorable photos are signs and balloons. Write your family’s name or a cute and funny quote on a decorative chalkboard sign and hold it up as a family in your photo. Balloons are also a fun, colourful, and simple addition to help liven up family photos. You don’t need to overdo the props, and you don’t need to stick to a fall colour scheme. Have fun with it!

fall portrait idea 2

2. Be Natural and Have Fun

I don’t know about you, but my kids don’t exactly sit still on a neatly laid blanket in an open field, all while smiling and directly facing forward. Sure, it all makes for a perfect photo, but families aren’t perfect. No two families are alike, and their pictures shouldn’t be either.

Walk, dance, play, interact, and have fun with each other. You want the photos to be representative of your family and all of the personalities in it. Stiff, traditional poses are common for a reason, but natural scenarios end up being the best shots deserving of a spot on the living room wall.

3. Switch Up the Angle

Your professional photographer is more open to your direction than you might think. When you talk to your photographer about your photo shoot, mention that you want to buck the tradition of straight-on photos. Get creative with it. 

Eye-level angles make for a more intimate point of view. High-angle shots can include more of the beautiful outdoor fall scenery in your shot. There's also titled angles and long shots for an edgier perspective. It's all about what's fitting for your family.

fall portrait idea 3

4. Add an Action Shot

Action shots aren't just reserved for sports photography. If your kids are hardly sitting still, take advantage of that and get a cool shot in motion. Make sure your photographer has plenty of advanced notice that you want action shots. They require lots of camera memory and a photographer willing to capture them — and possibly with some experience in doing so.

Family photo shoots are tiring enough as it is, so don't feel the need to spend the whole session in motion. Just welcome the opportunity to get in a few good ones.

fall portrait idea 4

5. Match Outfits, If You Must, but Be Unique

Matching outfits are the epitome of the fall family photo shoot and family photo shoots in general. The white shirt and khakis are starting to become more like a family uniform, unfortunately. Sure, coordinating colours and matching outfits help ensure the photo looks put together, but it’s time to rethink this tradition.

Instead of the uniform white shirt and matching khakis or jeans, get colourful. Wear floral headwear, matching patterns, or even graphic shirts.

fall portrait idea 5

6. Don’t Match At All

Skip matching altogether and simply wear what looks good. Instead of matching outfits, you might focus on things like your home decor. Where's the best place for this photo to live on the wall? Now coordinate the decor and colour scheme to fit, not match, the outfits you wear.

7. Head Into the City

It's fall, and the trees are beautiful, and the weather is crisp. The natural lighting in the fall is also usually pretty amazing. Why not be outdoors? That doesn't mean that you have to be in the grass and in the leaves. For a totally different type of fall photo, head into the city. The concrete, the buildings, and the people make underrated backdrops where the focus is still on your family.

8. Don't Forget the Family Pet

Our pets are a part of the family. They love the outdoors. Bring them along, and let their playful nature lighten the mood of the family photo shoot. If they'll agree to wear a bow or a bow tie, bonus!

9. Embrace Fall at a Rustic Location

When you think fallen leaves, haystacks, and pumpkins, you think fall. They're seasonal. Your family photos are meant to be timeless. The rustic theme, however, looks good year-round. Cabins and barns make great rustic locations for photos. Rugged benches, such as the ones often found in forest preserves, will work too.

fall portrait idea 6

10. Vary the Background

Play with shapes and lines by moving some family members to the background and some to the front. Shortest to tallest is an easy way to decide, but arrange a few shots where the parents get to shine in the front, too.

fall portrait idea 7

Moving the setting to a beautiful wide-open space is another way to vary the background — if you're lucky enough to live close to one. Don't worry that it will take the focus off your beautiful family. A good photographer knows just how to capture the beauty of the landscape while emphasizing the love between the subjects at the focal point.

5 tips to choose a portrait photographer


Choosing the best portrait photographer to capture your family / yourself is not as simple as just picking the first name that pops up on Google. So how do you choose? There are so many great photographers in Hong Kong, here's how to choose who's right for you! I'm here to help! As an experienced Hong Kong portrait photographer, I'm very familiar in this field and I've got some useful tips to help you choose the right photographer to capture the essence of your team or family.  

How to choose the best portrait photographer

1. CHOOSE A PHOTOGRAPHER WHOSE STYLE YOU LOVE

First things first: If you don’t like the portrait photographer’s style, there’s no reason to continue. Everybody has a style they like or are looking for, even if you can't name or put your finger on it. Make sure to take a good look through the photographer's portfolio to see whether their style is consistent and is what you are looking for. 

Settle on a style: It is important to consider the type of photography style that the photographer provides. Do any of the following appeal to you?

Documentary:

Instead of a series of posed photos, these are candid or spontaneous pictures. This style tends to be photo journalistic,  you'll very rarely see people staring at the camera - the photos capture the moments exactly as they happened, and together they tell a story. These photos also tend to have very minimal editing. This style is great to capture raw emotions.

Portraiture/Studio:

These tend to be more classic and traditional portraits. If you like posed team or family members, make sure you are choosing someone who shoots those specific types of photos vs in-home/in-office lifestyle photos.  Even within studio portraiture, there is a lot of room for creativity. 

Fine art: 

In fine art portraiture, the artist's vision plays an important role. Though it's similar to documentary photography, this style gives the photographer greater artistic licence to input their particular point of view and style into your photographs, this does not mean that the photographer will not spend time with you discussing your hopes for your portrait photography. Fine art photography is generally more stylized with a signature look. See this interview with Bill Gekas to get a better understanding.

Edgy and Bold

When you see images with the camera tilted at different angles, a surprising view (i.e. a photo shot from overhead).  This is an offshoot of fine art, is marked by "outside-the-box", tilted angles and unconventional framing. 

2. CHOOSE A PHOTOGRAPHER THAT SPECIALISES IN THE TYPE OF SHOOT THAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR:

This may sound obvious, but it's not something that people always consider. If you are looking to have some outdoor portraits, it may be a good idea to go with a photographer who mainly does outdoor photography and uses natural light. If you are looking for portraits of your children, it makes sense to choose someone who specializes in family photography (rather than specializing in, say, landscape or pet photography).

Someone who specializes in the type of photography you are looking for will be an expert in that genre and that will go far in getting you beautiful photos. Do your research to ensure that the photographer you choose is good at the type of photo shoot that you are looking for. 

3.  CHECK THEIR PORTFOLIO, LOOK FOR CONSISTENCY.

Start your research by reading any reviews on LinkedIn or by checking the photographer's website portfolio. Have they got some testimonials in their website? What are the reviews like? This will give you an idea of the set of skills that the photographer has and what kind of work they have done and how their clients felt. The wording and design of their website, will also give you a glimpse about the photographers personality and sensibility. 

Another important factor is the photographer's portfolio, is it consistent? If you notice that a photographer's photos don't have a consistent look overall that may be red flag.  Are there enough photos on their Website for you to make an informed decision? Is the quality of the photos, style, creativity and editing consistent?  I spend hours going through my work to perfect it, and I undertake continuous training to be the best I can be.

4. INVESTMENT, HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

Realistically this should be the last thing on your mind, but usually it's the first. If you want someone literally just to snap photos away - you can find that easily and cheap. But is that what you want? Good photography is not cheap.  

The best portrait photographer's take their art very seriously and will go above and beyond your expectations. They will want to give you artwork to hold and be proud to share with their clients and extended network. A good photographer will invest time and money to ensure they improve their skills. It's important that your photographer communicates with you and hears about what you want from your session. 

How much will it cost you?  Is the photographer upfront with their prices? Do you know exactly what you’re getting from them? Every photographer has a different way of working. Some will do viewings and in person sales, some will offer all-inclusive packages. Don’t forget the cost of your photos is not just down to the moment they press the shutter and take your image. You are paying for their knowledge and experience, processing, and equipment as well as the experience.

5. CHOOSE A PHOTOGRAPHER WHO IS COMMITTED TO YOU FROM BEGINNING TO END. 

A photo session is more than just showing up and having photos taken. Choose a photographer who is involved beyond just taking a deposit for a session, shooting the session and mailing you your images. Your overall experience will be enhanced if you choose someone who works with you on each step, from initial consultation to choosing a session date, helping you pick out outfits or backgrounds and helps you to design your session.

Personality:  Check for recommendations. Are they good with children? Are they relaxed? Having your photographs taken in front of a stranger can be very daunting, you want someone to make it as relaxed and fun as possible! I have a lot of experience capturing portrait photography for schools and this is because my relaxed, friendly and unobtrusive approach works perfectly within this environment.

I hope this post how to find the best portrait photographer for you has helped and if you feel my work represents what you are looking for please feel free to get in touch using the contact info below.

7 Portrait Photography Poses That will Make You Look Great

Forget about those goofy office headshots. These easy-to-follow portrait photography poses will have you looking good in no time

Most people worry about how they look on camera. But while turning out a little weird in family snaps may be mildly annoying, looking bad in photographs for work can be more frustrating.

We all want to make a great impression among colleagues or potential employers or clients. But sometimes it can be hard to get the pose and the expression right.

Working with a professional photographer can make a huge difference to how well you pose. Portrait photographers will give you direction in how to stand, where to look and help you with expressions. They’ll also make sure the lighting really favours that particular pose, as well as your facial features.

But even if you’re not working with a professional photographer right now, there are still things you can do to make sure you’re posing for photographs in the right way.

Take a look at these actionable tips for great posing, put together by the professionals here at Dadi Precious.

Research photography poses before the shoot

Before you can strut your stuff in front of the camera, you need to do a little homework. Research the type of portrait photography pose you like – try visual discovery tools like Pinterest, Google Images or even your LinkedIn feed – and study the poses that catch your eye.

Pull a few of the poses in front of the mirror. You might feel shy (or ridiculous!) but this is an essential part of finding a photography pose that really suits you. Even Naomi Campbell doesn’t get it right the first time.

If you’re working with a professional photographer, take the shots you’ve researched with you on the day and explain why you like the poses. Your photographer will be able to advise you if they’re the right poses for your body and portrait style.

If you’re shooting solo or with a friend, stick the reference pictures up somewhere visible and base your poses on them. It’ll be trial and error but it will help.

That’s enough preparation. Now, for the perfect photography poses…

Portrait photography poses: the body

Strong shoulder pose

Maria 1 Of 4

The position of your shoulder can add strength to a pose.

While you may feel shy at first in front of the camera, try not to shrink into yourself mentally or physically. Stand up straight, take up space and use the position of your shoulders to add dimension to the image.

Experiment with slightly lifting one shoulder and bringing it forward while you angle your torso – this can create a sense of movement and will avoid you looking like a mannequin.

You don’t have to go the full supermodel, but find a way to use your shoulders to add strength to your pose. You’ll look like a more capable professional that way.

Looking for a portrait photographer in Hong Kong? Check out our website!

Red carpet pose

You might be thinking, “who wants to look like a celebrity in their professional portrait??” Answer – you do. Or at least you want to leverage celebrity photo secrets to make sure you look your best on LinkedIn.

For women, we recommend the classic hand-on-hip pose that most celebrities use on the red carpet. Why? Because having your hand on your hip ensures that you’re not squashing your skin against your torso. That that weird flat-arm effect can detract attention from more important parts of the portrait.

For this pose, make sure it’s your camera-facing arm that’s on your hip, not the other one. Otherwise you could look lopsided.

For men, there’s nothing wrong with trying out a casual hands-in-pockets portrait photography pose.

Dan 1 Of 1 2
A casual, hands-in-pocked pose can help relax you, whilst showing confidence.

Street-style pose

If you’re thinking of a portrait to go on your personal website or social media profiles, you might want to try out a full-length, head-on pose. Head-on shots can look confrontational if not done right, so make sure you adopt a pose that doesn’t smack of aggression.

One good pose to try is the so-called “street-style” pose, based on the kind of shots that fashion bloggers post on Instagram.

For this, face the camera head-on, cross your legs at the calf and jut your jaw out slightly. You’ll look weird from the side but from the camera’s front position you’ll have a stronger jawline.

Guys might feel a bit weird in this pose, so experiment with shifting your body weight to one hip and turning the other foot out slightly. This will give you a strong shape while avoiding that legs-apart pose that many men do in front of the camera.

If you’re working with a professional photographer they may well crouch down and take this sort of shot from below eye-level, to make you seem taller.

Portrait photography poses: the face

Relaxed-mouth pose

Having headshots taken can be even more nerve-wracking than full-length portraits. Many people feel on edge with a camera up close and personal; these understandable nerves easily show up in the final photo without expert guidance.

One tip that will relax your face even if you feel on edge is to open your mouth slightly. A tensely closed mouth can make your face seem wider and can make you look unwelcoming, even bored. Not a great first impression no matter what you’re using your headshot for.

Headshot Montse Munoz 2 Of 4
A relaxed-mouth pose

With your mouth slightly open you’re more likely to end up with an image that invites interaction from the viewer.
To get this pose right, imagine you’re just about to say something to a friend then freeze the moment.

Natural smile pose

It might sound like a paradox to talk about a posed natural smile. But smiling in headshots is a surprisingly difficult thing to get right.

A huge toothy smile can look forced and unprofessional. It also stretches your cheeks out to their maximum and detracts from your eyes, which should be the focus of the headshot.

That said, refusing to smile at all leaves you with a portrait that gives an impression of unapproachability. So what’s the answer?

The natural smile pose, that’s what. This is when you recreate that smile you use in social situations to invite interaction.

To reproduce this look, first decide how much of your teeth you want on display. Then practise smiling so that your lower lip follows the curve of your upper teeth – this should ensure that your pose is relaxed.

While you do this, try pressing your tongue up against your palette. You’ll avoid showing off a double-chin.
Still not confident in your photo smile? Check out these video tips

Angled face pose

You should only try a head-on portrait if you’re being shot by a professional photographer. Professionals know how to tweak the lighting to make you look great from any angle.

But in the wrong hands head-on shots lack shadow and contrast, giving you a distorted pancake-face effect.

To avoid this, go for the angled face pose. This means turning your head to show three quarters of your face while making eye contact with the camera lens.

Stand side on and tilt your head downwards ever so slightly to get this right – this means you’ll have to lift your line of sight up a little, which is flattering.

Portrait Photography Pose Men 1 Of 1

Pro-tip: many people are paranoid about having one eye larger than the other. When you do the angled face pose, make sure the smaller eye is closer to the camera. This will even them out.

Elegant hands pose

Cassandra Naji 1 Of 1
Relaxed hands, when done right, can add dynamics to your portrait.

And lastly, the elegant hands pose. Hands often get left behind in the portrait mix but they’re actually an integral part of creating a successful portrait.

First off, avoid those cheesy resumé photo poses straight from the 80s. No chins resting on fists! Instead, try to ensure you hands are in a position that reflects the portrait context.

If it’s a non-corporate business shot, maybe pose your hands with a tool of your trade. If it’s a suited and booted full length photo don’t be afraid to keep them casually in your pockets.

If your hands are on show and unoccupied, focus on keeping them relaxed. Spread the fingers lightly and make sure they’re slightly curved.

Portrait photography poses to make you look great – that’s a wrap

Choosing the right photography pose for you isn’t rocket science, it just takes a little insider knowledge. Professional photographers have a tonne of tips up their sleeve to help you find the right pose for every occasion, but don’t be afraid to try on your own as well.

Stay relaxed, focus on being approachable and try out our 7 poses. You’ll look better and, more importantly, make a better first impression.

Maternity Session Guide

Look beautiful for your maternity photo shoot! Pregnancy is a special time of your life and for many women, (although you may not feel like it) you are at your most natural, feminine and beautiful self. During your pregnancy, your hair is rich and thicker, your breasts are fuller, your skin is glowing and your body has more curves. For many expecting mothers, there’s no better way to remember their pregnancy and chronicle their journey to motherhood than a professional maternity photo shoot. Here are a few tips to help you look and feel your best in your maternity photo shoot.

PHOTOGRAPHER

The most important element of looking beautiful in your photos is the photographer. Find a professional photographer with strong technical skills and experience in pregnancy photography and holds a specialization in it. A professional maternity photographer will know how to light, pose and photograph you in angles that flatter your face and body.

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR MATERNITY PHOTOGRAPHER

STYLE

Choose a photographer whose style most resonates with you. There are so many styles out there—do you like in-the-home lifestyle maternity? Studio maternity? Soft palette, light and airy? Modern fashionista with vibrant colors? Boho chic? Belly boudoir? By choosing your photographer by style, you can be assured that you will get images you want.

QUALITY

Explore their portfolio as well as their recent sessions. Are the mamas posed and photographed beautifully? Are there flattering poses or good angles in their work? Are there a variety of mamas with different body types and do they look great? Are the images sharp, properly exposed with good lighting and framed well?

Also look for consistency in their work. This is a way to differentiate an amateur from a professional. An amateur photographer’s portfolio may show nice images, but those images are a compilation of one or two accidentally good images from many sessions. The professional will show quality images consistently in both their portfolio AND recent work on their blog. If you hire an amateur to shoot your session, you accept the risk that there may only be one or two good images from your session vs. the 20-30 great images that a professional will provide in your gallery. When you hire with quality in mind, you buy the assurance and the peace of mind that your special moment is captured perfectly before it is lost in time.

EXPERIENCE

While years of experience may not necessarily equate to quality, very often the photographer with years of experience has had the time to hone their skills.

PRICE

While price is an important factor, it should not be the most important one. Like any quality products or services out there, good photography is expensive. Why? Because it is not easy to create quality images. Bad photography is even more expensive. If you don’t like your photos, you have wasted your time and money. If there is a chance to do the maternity shoot again, you end up spending more money for the re-shoot for a better photographer. It’s often less expensive to get it right the first time.


WHEN TO COME IN FOR THE SHOOT

For expecting mamas with singletons, a good time to do your maternity photos when you are 28 – 32 weeks along. Your belly is full but you are still comfortable to pose. For expecting mamas with twins (or more), come in earlier around 26 – 30 weeks as twins tend to arrive much earlier than singletons.


PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP AND HAIR

I highly recommend professional makeup and hair. Not only will this make your photographer’s work easier, you will feel beautiful and confident at your session. However if it’s not in the budget, your going-out-on-a-hot-date makeup and hair is fine too. Neutral looking fake lashes can really flatter your eyes.

This beautiful mama with her day-to-day makeup (top) vs. the same mama with professional hair and makeup done (bottom). What a difference!:


POSING

Trust your photographer to direct you in posing so you can look your best. What makes maternity photos different from other portraits is that the images focus on you, your personality, feelings and the bond you have with your much-awaited baby. Many maternity poses such as hands on the belly and eyes looking down express emotions and connection to your belly. Other maternity poses empathize the beautiful curves of your body.

WHAT TO WEAR

Wear whatever you feel comfortable and pretty in. Here’s a list I provide to my clients: the first one is mandatory, the rest of the list are suggestions.

If your photographer specializes in maternity, they will likely have maternity dresses, wraps and accessories in their studio available to use. The benefit is you don’t have to go and buy maternity dresses that you only wear a few times. Please check with your photographer about their gown use policy. Depending on the gown’s quality and intricate detail work, there may be rental and/or dry-cleaning fees.

LOCATION

Consider the location of your shoot and the advantages/disadvantages of them.

INDOOR (e.g. in the home)

Advantage in the home is comfort and connection to familiar surroundings. You don’t have to worry about the weather outside. Disadvantage, you have to clean your house so it will look good in the photos. The lighting may not be optimal. Please check with your photographer on how they will address this. Seasoned photographers will use portable flash if necessary.

STUDIO

Advantage is convenience and control. You can shoot anytime regardless of weather.

OUTDOOR

The natural beauty of a pregnant woman in a beautiful outdoor backdrop is simply breathtaking! The parallel of a mother about to bring to life into the world and Mother Nature is a powerful one. Disadvantages are that the shoot is weather-dependent and shooting hours are limited to the golden hour of sunrise or sunset (when the quality of natural light is at its best). Reschedules can happen and may trigger the rescheduling of other related appointments (e.g. professional makeup and hair artist, florist, venues, etc.) Remember your sunscreen and bug spray! Be prepared to walk/hike to the location and change outfits outdoors.

A great maternity photography session will not just produce stunning and gorgeous images, but also make you feel confident and beautiful.