Thursday, July 18, 2024

Tips for a Hot Summer PhotoShoot

One of the best ways to welcome summer is to organise a picture shoot in an outside setting.  If you want to take better photos for your blog or social media, here are some pointers.

Location is Key

Think about your goal ahead of time. The atmosphere of the photos is extremely dependent on the location. The playful, flirtatious atmosphere of the beach conveys a different spirit of summer than the steamy atmosphere of the city. Use Google Maps and Google Earth to do some “geo-scouting” and find promising areas. Multiple helpful filters are built into these applications. Explore vast areas from above, get a bird’s-eye view of the ground, and get a closer look at specific areas with the help of sample images from other users to get a closer look at the finer details and unique features. Some of the things I think about before each shot are:

  • Is it possible to travel to the site without breaking any laws?  When I’m on foot with customers, I aim to reduce the distance covered to a minimum for everyone’s sake.
  • Aesthetics – Is the area free from visual obstructions such as telephone poles and cables, automobiles, buildings, etc. in at least some directions? Is there a lovely backdrop, such as a field, ocean, mountains, dunes, cobblestone streets, or a cityscape view?
  • While seasoned models may work in any environment, the privacy afforded by a more isolated setting is often appreciated by both the model’s inexperienced colleagues and the client.

Props Can Help

Think about what you saw in your mind’s eye as you prepare for your session. Are flower petals or bouquets optional? Flowing fabric? Is that bright umbrella only for show, or are you planning to use it to keep you dry when it rains? Towel or beach ball? Think of and prepare for any contingency; bring as many alternatives as you can. Bring whatever you can fit into a beach bag.

Create a Timetable

When filming on location, the sun doesn’t wait for anyone. There is a window of time around sunset known as the “golden hour” that is ideal for many photographers. You won’t have much time to shoot before the sun goes down if you’re late to the spot. Using a spreadsheet to plan out your itinerary is a brilliant approach for keeping yourself on track. Plan your arrival well in advance to avoid arriving late due to rush hour traffic or the sun setting.

One time, shooting above a highway meant I only got ONE decent photo before the sun set behind the mountains. It’s important to note that the “horizon” time used in online listings of sunset times is different from the “mountain” time used in the actual observation of sunset. The mountains will obscure the sun earlier than the seashore would. It should come as no surprise that the available light will be dramatically reduced considerably earlier in wooded areas than in locations with an open horizon.

How about a hair and makeup artist for the session?  Portrait sessions with the family don’t, but boudoir and glamour shoots often do. In such a case, you’ll need to factor in at least 90 minutes of their time. Planning should also include time for exploring the area and preparing the venue. Once you are there, you may need to move around and think about where to stand to get the greatest possible shot at the location.

How to Find the Proper Equipment

The quality of your summertime outdoor photographs can be greatly affected by the gear you choose to use. Please give some thought to the lens you’ll require. A wide-angle lens, for instance, may seize an entire beach or mountain range, while a telephoto lens excels at taking detailed close-ups. Filters are important; a polarising filter, for example, will help you capture more accurate colours in the sky and water by eliminating reflections. Furthermore, a solid tripod can guarantee clear photographs, especially in low-light circumstances like sunrise or sunset.

Clothing Options

It’s not just the setting or the decorations that can make or break a photo; the clothes the subjects are wearing also matter. The images will stand out if you put some thought into your outfit and how it will go with the setting. Dressing for the beach should be relaxed, with a focus on light colours. Something edgier and riskier, perhaps, might be appropriate in a city atmosphere. Keep in mind that during a hot summer shoot, it’s important that your outfits not only look well but also feel good. Make sure your clients and models know to pack extra clothes just in case.

Managing Difficulties

Several unique difficulties arise during summer shooting. The photographer, the subjects, and the equipment can all suffer in high temperatures and humidity. Don’t forget to stock up on refreshments, food, sun protection, and a portable fan to keep everyone comfortable in the heat. It’s important to remember that high temperatures can also damage your camera equipment. Don’t leave your gear in a hot car; instead, cover it with a towel or an umbrella when it’s not in use.

Set a Backup Rain Date

Here in the Cape Town area, we always have to think about the possibility of bad weather. Shooting on your primary date if everything is a go, or falling back to your alternate date if weather creeps in, is easier if you have two days’ worth of resources (models, customers, stylists, assistants, etc.) aligned, ideally 2-3 days apart. All the time and thought you put into arranging your session won’t go to waste thanks to this.

Lighting Should Be Considered

The intense shadows that the midday light casts across people’s faces might make for a difficult session. Either find some way to block the sun, or bring in reflectors or strobes to even things out. Shooting after sundown necessitates the use of artificial illumination to illuminate the subject. It’s not only about whether or not you have an umbrella, portable beauty dish, or softbox handy; it’s also about whether or not you have the requisite weights to keep such things from toppling over in the slightest breeze.

Golden hour sessions are unique in that extra illumination is not typically required. The sun can be used to light from the front for gorgeous gold-toned portraiture, or from the back to create a soft, gauzy wash.

You may get a lot out of your summer training if you follow these guidelines. The best way to ensure that your outside shoot goes off without a hitch is to visualise and plan for it ahead of time. That way, you may unleash your full artistic potential on set.  Get out there and take advantage of the beautiful weather while you can.