Enjoying a Fresh Breeze: How to Take Great Summer Portraits

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  By Jonathan Ma
Enjoying a Fresh Breeze: How to Take Great Summer Portraits www.sleeklens.com

The warmest time of the year is here! How do you like to spend your summers? Summer is usually marked by frequent beach trips and picnics. The hot sun warms us as we spend our time outside enjoying the weather. Running on the beach, jumping on a surfboard, riding a jet ski, or going swimming are some fun ways to spend the summer. In order to get the most out of summer portraits, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Keep your subject active and engaged
  2. Use summer food as props
  3. Take advantage of sun flares
  4. Have your subject dress to stay cool

Keep Your Subject Active and Engaged

For summer portraits, you’ll want to head outside the house to get the best photos. Find a nice and warm location such as a local park, the beach, or a nearby river or lake. The warmer weather is great because it also warms the water, so the subject can play around with the water or even go swimming if they wanted to. The photographer can just tell the subject to relax and enjoy the scenery and water at their feet. Candid photos work really well in this setting. Once in a while, the photographer should have the subject look over to the camera and snap a few shots.

Kids are usually much more photogenic than adults. The reason for this is because they aren’t as self-conscious. As such, they feel comfortable just acting like themselves and don’t hold back. This is especially great for summer portraits because there’s so much to do in the summer. Just find a playground, and let them go and you’ll have limitless photo opportunities. Or take them to the beach, and let them have the freedom to enjoy the sunshine. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to take candid photos. Another advantage of kids is that they’re always active. This means you can focus less on interacting with your subject, and more on the technical aspects of photography, such as getting the composition and camera settings correct. All you have to do is make sure there is something for the child to play with, such as sand, water, or a playground.

Use Summer Food as Props

Props are always a great idea because they give the subject something to interact with. As a technical photographer, my most common mistake is forgetting to communicate with my subject about what they need to be doing. By having props, they can just interact with the prop in their own world, and then I’ll have them look over when I’m ready to shoot the photograph.

Take Advantage of Sun Flares

Sun flares

are an amazing way to capture the essence of the summer – beautiful sun rays. Sun flares are actually easier to capture than you might imagine. All you have to do is position the subject in front of the sun and find the proper exposure. When the subject is backlit, position the camera so that the sun is still showing. Then set the SLR to spot metering, and lower the exposure compensation to about -1.0. Position the center of the image on the subject’s face, then press the exposure lock button on the SLR to save the exposure setting. Recompose the image, and then shoot when you and the subject are ready.

Have Your Subjects Dress to Stay Cool

It’s important to stay cool during summer photo shoots. Staying cool prevents the subject from becoming irritated and frustrated from being hot and sweaty. Summer shorts, cotton shirts, and bikinis are common summer outfits that help the subject to stay cool. The subject should also bring sunglasses on sunny days to prevent squinting during the photo shoot.

One last tip is to keep the subject hydrated. As the hot summer day draws on, it can suck all of the energy from the subject if they do not have water or drinks to stay hydrated. Don’t push your subject too much. If they say that they are tired of walking or need to take a break, spend the 15 minutes or so to give them the break that they deserve. Advance planning will help prevent a situation where time is limited, causing you to rush.

Happy shooting!

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Jonathan Ma

Jonathan Ma is a freelance writer and professional photographer. He grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest of the United States. The natural beauty that surrounds this area has helped him to learn to appreciate art and photography. Jonathan's favorite styles of photography are nature and sports photography. He enjoys learning and teaching others what he knows.

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