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Guide to shooting outdoors

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

How to shoot the best outdoor photos

Outdoor photographs capture memorable moments of your children, family and friends in beautiful natural settings. Follow these tips and tricks to take great outdoor photos with ease.

Girl blowing bubbles

Outdoor photography do's and don'ts

  • Do pay attention to things in the background, such as power lines or a stray piece of trash.
  • Do use elements of nature to complement your subject.
  • Do use unusual angles for an interesting perspective.
  • Don't try to pose every photo. Some of the best shots are candids.
  • Don't dress your child (or other subject) in the same color as the background.
  • Don't lose your patience. Shoot lots of pictures to learn what works and what doesn't.

Family photography: The basic shots you need to know >>

Photography tricks and secrets

For outdoor photographs, clear, sunny days aren't your best bet. To get the optimal results, shoot when it's cloudy, and take as many shot as your can.

"When you are shooting outdoors, try not to have the sun directly behind your child," says Arieanna Schweber, mother of 2-year-old Aiden. "Overcast days are actually perfect lighting for many photos. I like photos that really focus on the child, so I try to stay nice and tight for portraits. By doing so, I can usually preview if the lighting is OK and can adjust my height or my position to get the best shot. Then, I just take lots and hope for the best!" Schweber took about six photos of this special moment, but only one had the perfect smile.

Many photographers like to blur the background to put more emphasis on the subject.

To get maximum background blur:

    1. Select the widest aperture (smallest f-number) your lens can get.
    2. Choose the longest focal length of your zoom lens.
    3. Place the subject and background as far apart as possible.

When taking outdoor portraits, you can use a circular polarizing filter to bring out rich colors and reduce glare on your subject. Talk to your local camera shop about which filter is right for your needs.

Quiz: Which camera is best for you? >>

Outdoor photography tips from the pros

"Shooting outdoors can be a little bit of a challenge at times, especially on those sunny days," says Erin Myers of Erin N. Myers Photography. "One of the hardest things is avoiding the harsh shadows that can occur -- particularly on the subject's face -- when shooting in direct sunlight. Myers offers these tips for minimizing such shadows:

  • Take pictures in the early morning or in the late evening. You have a little more control over the shadows and the effects they have in your image.
  • If you must take photos in the middle of the day, try to find a shady area -- for example, behind a building or under a carport.
  • Avoid using trees as shade. Sunlight shining through leaves can create sunspots, which are very overexposed and nearly impossible to edit out.

Watch: How to pick a lens for your DSLR

Ever wondered what lens to use when buying a DSLR? Wonder no more. On this episode of SheKnows How To we take a look at the difference between a 16mm and 200mm lens and which one works best for portrait versus a beautiful landscape.

More photography tips

Guide to shooting baby pictures
Guide to shooting portraits
I Am Momma Hear Me Roar photo tips

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