How to improve your Summer photography
When I say being an on location photographer in the UK poses it’s challenges, I bet you’re thinking of wet, windy and cold days? Well yes, sometimes those are issue. (That’s why I book a wet weather day as back up for my clients, just incase). Suprisingly, the long bright days of Summer, whilst very welcome can bring their own challenges when it comes to portrait photography.
With a few weeks of the holidays still remaining, I hope, like me that you have plans to enjoy more family time together. And, if you’re looking to photograph and capture some of these memories I thought it might be useful to provide a few tips which may improve your photography and ensure you have images to enjoy when those colder, wetter days come along.
Tip #1 – Seek Shade
I am the last one to seek shade when the sun finally shows it’s face but it will help to avoid harsh shadows when it comes to portrait photography. You know the ones, unflattering shadows around the nose and eye area – accompanied by a dash of squinting. Look for environmental shade provided by a tree or building and position your subject at the edge of the shade (referred to as open shade). They will remain well lit with a softer light reflecting onto them and in their eyes.
On this shoot we were on Wittering beach without any available environmental shade, so we created our own by bringing along the teepee. Shade and fun – it’s a win/win. I’ve positioned the teepee infront of the sun so no squiting and the shadow falls over my subject…. Who is clearly unaware of the technical efforts to ensure she can build her sand castle in a spot ideally lit for the session!
Admittedly I don’t have a teepee to hand on every occasion so use more commonly found beach items, such as a beach towel or umberella. If you have a little one quite happily playing it would spoil the moment to move them, so grab an assistant to hold the towel or umberella to cast a shadow over your subject instead and you have a handy portable solution.
Alternatively, you could choose your moment and wait for the clouds to come along, acting as a natural diffuser they also result in softened light (and let’s face it, in the UK we don’t have to wait too long do we?!)
Finally, photographing early or later in the day when the light is softer is my personal favourite. It’s not always practical for younger children but holiday routines may mean it’s feasible. I know one photographer who always picks the moment just before going out for dinner on holiday as the children are all showered and tidy (and I’m sure the promise of more ice-cream for dessert must feature too!)
…want to learn more?
If you found this information useful keep an eye out on my website or facebook page as I’ll be providing a PDF of family photography tips shortly. If you have a particular challenge please drop me a line as I’m keen to include information to help you improve your photography….. and of course, if you’d like to book me to capture some special family moments I’d be delighted to help you with that too!
Moira is a Southsea photographer who works throughout Hampshire and the UK. She specialises in children and families and is a member of the British Association of Professional Child Photographers.For more details visit her website or facebook page.