Ask the Photographer: Tips to Get the Best Outdoor Photos of Your Family

Few scenes are as special as a family having a blast outdoors, but sometimes the photos we take just don’t do those priceless moments justice. Thankfully, we have a Fernandina Beach mom who knows a thing or two about photography to help us out. Guest Columnist Kellie Boston, of Boston Photography, shares some trade secrets that will help you get the best outdoor photos.~Mamamelia


Ask the Photographer


Boston Photography of Fernandina Beach, FL, shares tips for outdoor photo images.

Just before the sun sets, you'll find some of the best lighting. / All Images Courtesy of Boston Photography

So the flowers are blooming and spring is in the air.  Everyone finds themselves outdoors more often and it just so happens that there is a lot to photograph.  Whether you want to take your child’s portrait in front of the azaleas, underneath that large oak tree, or in the bright mid-day sun, there are some great tips of the trade that will help you get the image you had in your head.

It is all about the timing

Of course you can capture portraits any time of day with the right location and equipment, but if you want to maximize your chances of getting that great image where the people are the right color (not pale blue or yellow) you may want to try photographing them outdoors within the last hour before sunset.  This light is often referred to as the “sweet light”.  It typically provides a nice golden tone to the skin and allows your subject to be outdoors without that horrible squinty look or “raccoon eyes”.

It is all about the location

If you want to capture more than just a snapshot, pay attention to the location you choose for your subject.  When you are photographing children, you want the focus to be the child…not the bright sun, or the distracting lawn chair in the background.

Boston Photography shares tips for outdoor photo images.

Photo taken in "Open Shade" .

It is best to pick an area of “open shade”…a shaded area where there are not tree branches or obstructions overhead causing spotty lighting.  Pick a background that won’t distract. Outdoor scenery is always great as long as, again, there isn’t anything to distract your eye from the main focus.  A photography mentor once said if you turn the picture upside down and your eye goes to anything but the face of the person, you have not properly removed the distractions. Do this exercise with any image.  Your eye will typically go to the brightest area, or maybe a distractive pattern.

It is all about the composition

Composing an image is all in the eye of a photographer.  Pay attention to how you pose people or how they are already posed.  Don’t cut off the tip of an appendage, i.e. if you have a picture of two people hugging and you cut off one person’s fingers…your image will look odd.  Also if you are taking a portrait of more than one person, use the “triangle method”.  This is where none of the points of interest are on the same plane, but typically in a “Triangle” shape.  This has been studied to be the most appealing composition for multiple people, pet, or focal points.  Have you ever noticed that if an image is off centered, it often makes you look again.  There is a photography philosophy called the “Rule of Thirds” which states that if a focal point is placed in any of the “Rule of Thirds” regions, the image is more powerful.

Outdoor Family Photo by Boston Photography in Fernandina Beach, FL.

Taking time to consider the composition of your image can make all the difference.

Timing, location, and composition all play a great role in your portrait-taking.  Hopefully you can take a few of these tips and practice them outdoors right away.  I would love to hear how these helped you, so feel free to contact us!

Kellie Boston is the owner of Boston Photography in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Kellie Boston

Kellie Boston is the owner and photographer for Boston Photography on Amelia Island in Florida. She can be contacted with further questions or to set up your own portrait session at:

She also teaches photography workshops, classes and individual lessons.


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