Why would you take an outdoor portrait in the middle of the winter? When you need a professional portrait, one of the first things you may imagine is the portrait taken indoors. Maybe you go to a photographer’s studio to have your picture taken, maybe the photographer goes to your office to take the portrait. You may even double down on this backdrop because it is a cold winter. But, what if you live in Seattle, Bellevue, or Tacoma? The Pacific Northwest is known for its mild winters and grey overcast. This is one of many reasons why I suggest considering taking your portrait photo outdoors.
The High Potential for Overcast Diffuse Light During Winter
The first benefit to outdoor portrait photography in the winter is the high potential for overcast skies that produce ideal diffuse light. We love the warmth of summer, but when photographing portraits on a summer day, you don’t want your subject standing in the sunlight where you get pure white highlights and dark shadows. In contrast, our PNW region produces a light on a winter overcast day that will show the highlights and shadows of a face in perfect value.
A Beautiful Natural Background Reflects on You
It is true the you are the focus of your portrait. So, it is understandable that most portraits are shot in a studio. Another common place to control the environment is taking the photo at your work office. But, if you want to boost something about you, like your love for the outdoors, or your sense of adventure, taking your portrait outdoors will send those messages subconsciously to the viewer. As you can see in these portrait examples that I have taken, the options are endless, and there are many moods and messages one can create depending on the natural or urban background.
An Outdoor Portrait Photographer Who Values Simplicity
I love my work, and one reason is I get to be outdoors. Studio equipment is very expensive, not to mention studio rent costs. Also, the artificial setting of a studio does not speak to me as much as shooting outdoors. The simplicity of shooting outdoors feels lighter and is a part of why I enjoy my work. This simplicity of process benefits you in that you are working with someone who values a happy work environment. Being outside, even if it is a little chilly, is my favorite environment for capturing a quality portrait photo.
The Process behind Outdoor Portraits
After our digital or phone communication we have reached the moment where we meet in person at your outdoor location of choice. Let’s imagine it is winter, we have picked a winter day in between 40 and 50 degrees which is very common. You have dressed warmly in the clothing that best reflects you or your work. After we chat and get comfortable with each other I’ll start suggesting specific locations based on what I have known to work well for backgrounds, such as it not being too busy so not to distract from your face.
Outdoor Portrait Technique and Poses
Much like studio portraits, I like to have shoulders slightly turned, but the difference is I like to capture a little more casual or spontaneous or a pose. This is accomplished by shooting at many different angles, but one thing that stays consistent is you are looking at the camera. Unless you are going to the mysterious artist look, I strongly recommend choosing to look right at the camera. It shows confidence, and presence. Artistically, I’m attracted to the looking away photo, but that does not fare well in business. It may send the message that you are aloof or disinterested.
Post Production of Outdoor Portraits
Even though my years of experience with my craft, and Nikon camera and lenses do the majority of the work, post production is essential. It is at this final stage of your portrait that I can pay more attention to cropping, light balance, and other Adobe Lightroom settings. It is also here we can remove what is not needed, and use filters that add a particular mood. This is a considerable percentage of the time I spend on your portrait that the client does not see. Finally, you get that special link in your email to view the final work. I recommend using a laptop or desktop to view your portrait photos large, just as I recommend viewing my photography in a large digital format.
Contact me if you are interested in talking with me about your potential portrait photo.