Nourify Photography

Children Outdoor Portraits

Children do not always cooperate when it comes to posing and other instructions; nevertheless they are always fun to photograph as they offer some of the most genuine facial expressions. While studio shots do offer better control of lighting and backdrop, it is the outdoor portraits where some of the best natural childhood emotions can be captured. Children would typically feel less intimidated in outdoor environments, and as such, tend to cooperate better with the photographer.

Outdoor portraits often present a set of challenges. One is lighting and specifically how to deal with the harsh sunlight and the resulting stark contrast. Best outdoor portraits are typically shot during the so-called Golden Hours (about an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset) when the sun sits low creating softer and more pleasing light. That said, if you have to take pictures during mid day, it would be better to put the subject in open shade. And if that is not possible, it would be better to backlit the subject with sun, and use either fill flash or a reflector to light the face. In that case, it is also important to use the “Spot Meter” feature in your camera and expose for the subject’s face. Another challenge is getting the right color balance and decent skin tones outdoors. To achieve that, one may use a white card and set a custom white balance within the camera. Also it is important to shoot in RAW format so you can have full control over white balance adjustment during post processing. Another challenge is focusing and getting sharp pictures when dealing with active kids outdoors. Like any portrait shot, it is critical to always focus on the eyes. At the same time, to have a pleasing blurred background (aka bokeh), one would like to use bigger aperture opening in order to get a shallower Depth of Field (DoF). Having a shallow DoF, however, makes it so much more difficult to nail the focus on the eyes, particularly with Manual Focus lenses, and with kids running around. When using Auto Focus lenses, it is recommended that you use a single focus point along with the static AF-S focus mode¬†(aka One-Shot AF in Canon) for portraits.

Here is a good set of basic tips for outdoor portraits. And below are a few of our example kid portrait shots taken outdoor at the different times of the day. If you like to have an outdoor portrait session for your family and kids, please contact us via the Contact button on our website, or directly via email:

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