Photographing People in Nature

When we do portrait work, we rarely set up our studio and shoot indoors. Instead, we head to a local park. We look for ways to show a personal connection to nature. Not just your standard head shot – but something beyond the norm. Why not let your subjects get dirty or wet? Show them hiking their favorite trail, or splashing in their favorite watering hole. Some of our favorite human subjects are our own children – and we try to make sure they are having lots of fun with the photo shoot. Here are a few examples.

A thin wall of falling water separates us from Damian – giving us an unusual view. The resulting images are lighthearted, quirky, and so much fun!

A walk in the woods is a great time for a quick portrait session. On an overcast day, the light is soft and even. An old fence makes a great prop – and the memory is worth more than a studio session any day!

You may not want those dandelions growing in your yard – but what a great place for a photo shoot! I would have liked to have a reflector along on a sunny day like this one – but I didn’t have one at the time. If you want a similar photo, make sure the child’s face is turned away from the sun so they don’t need to squint… and use a reflector to bounce a little fill light onto the face. That would have made a big difference for this shot!

My sons love being the center of attention – so when I wanted a shot of them in their snorkel gear, they were more than happy to oblige. Capturing a child smiling at the camera is nice – but candid shots are even more fun.

My daughters don’t mind being photographed either, as you can see. I used a wide-angle lens to show off their sandy toes, and add a bit of distortion to a beach portrait. Look at those looooong legs!

Look for opportunities to spice up your outdoor portraits. Have fun with it, and you’ll come away with photos that will make everyone smile!

About Author Varina Patel

There is nothing more remarkable to me than the power of nature. It is both cataclysmic and subtle. Slow and continuous erosion by water and wind can create landscapes every bit as astonishing as those shaped by catastrophic events – and minuscule details can be as breathtaking as grand vistas that stretch from one horizon to the other. Nature is incredibly diverse. Burning desert sands and mossy riverbanks… Brilliant sunbeams and fading alpenglow… Silent snowfall and raging summer storms… Each offers a unique opportunity. I am irresistibly drawn to the challenge of finding my next photograph, and mastering the skills required to capture it effectively.