Spring is just around the corner in the Midwest, which means that outdoor photography is on its way back! I am excited to get back into nature and capture beautiful memories for my clients. As I was thinking about upcoming sessions, I started to think about all the things I need to have a successful outdoor session. Today, I’m going to give you some insight into what I do to capture bright, colorful photos.

Shooting in the studio is often much simpler since you set up your set, and the environment and setup are very controlled and require minimal adjustment. However for me, I love the unpredictability of shooting in nature.  There’s just something special about finding the beauty in your surroundings and using that to compliment your subject and create images that are so unique, interesting, and beautiful. The creativity and spontaneity of outdoor photography make it inherently more complex. Still, in my opinion, it also makes it so much more fun and rewarding to capture that perfect shot!


Choosing a location will be one of the first things you do when preparing for your session. I live in the Greenbay, Wisconsin, area, and here the seasons change so quickly that you have to know where to go to get the best shots.  I like to go out and scout locations a few days in advance so I can be sure to get the perfect picture! One of my favorite areas to shoot outdoor sessions is the University of Wisconsin Green Bay campus.  The campus is close to Lake Michigan, so this area has many gorgeous wooded areas, beaches, and lots of visually exciting locations across campus to get a fantastic shot. I also have a special place in my photographer's heart for the Downtown Green Bay area; there, you can find a lot of beautiful architectural backgrounds and spots along the Fox River to get an awesome shot. So before your next outdoor session, get out and explore! Take your camera and look around for places that catch your eye. Take practice shots so you can see how these areas translate to photos, and go from there!


The next thing you’ll want to do is get your gear ready.  I like to get those great Bokeh shots, which is a style of photography that focuses on creating a beautifully blurred effect in the background of your photograph so that the subject stands out in perfect clarity with a soft, smooth background complimenting it. While the camera is obviously essential, for Bokeh, it’s all about the lens. So I like to use my Canon 5D Mark IV camera with my three favorite lenses: a 24-70 mm lens, a 70-200mm lens, and an ultra-wide 15-20mm lens.  I use the 24-70mm for very tight shots, and I use the 70-200 when I want more Bokeh with distance.  As I mentioned before, my shooting style is very bright and colorful, so I push my ISO up, lower my f-stop, and keep my shutter speed around double the lens's focal length to get those great shots.


Prior to your session, you’ll want to prep your client to give them the tools for a successful shoot. Before the session, I like to give my clients tips on wardrobe, hair, and sometimes even makeup to ensure that the photos are cohesive and flattering. The wardrobe can make a massive difference in the quality of an outdoor portrait, so I always like to make sure that my clients have the tools to choose their outfits accordingly. Some things that you want to keep in mind include outfit colors, warmth, and visual interest.  For example, if you’re planning to shoot in a very green/wooded area, you’ll want to make sure your client isn’t planning to wear green because they’ll blend into the background when you want them to stand out. In Wisconsin, the weather can be unpredictable, so I always recommend that my clients dress in layers. Not only do they bring another aspect of visual interest to the shot, but they are also suitable for keeping your client comfortable in a range of different temperatures. If you’d like to learn more of my tips and tricks for wardrobe planning, you can download my Free Style Guide.  Just click “Home” at the top of this page and scroll down to the bottom to find the download link!

If you or your family has been thinking about having portraits taken, Spring is the perfect season to get those beautiful outdoor photos!  The world is coming back to life and filled with color, sunshine, and beauty after a long grey winter, and all that lovely nature is the best backdrop for portraits that you’ll love!  Give us a call today to set up your Spring session, and let us help you create your Forever Memories!