Preparation

What to wear to your Outdoor Portrait Session

There are many approaches to dressing for your portrait session and I generally take a casual approach to suit the location and activity.  I want to open up some new ideas, concepts and general rules of thumb to help you choose what to wear and look your best in for your next outdoor portrait session. 

 
  • Confident yet Comfortable

  • Suits the Activity and Location

  • Complimentary, Not Matching

  • Avoid Logos and Text

You want to look your best for your photoshoot session but you also want to be comfortable in what you are wearing because if you feel uncomfortable, you will most like look uncomfortable.  Dress for the occasion, activity or location; a tight dress and heels isn't going to work for a day at the beach, but would be perfect for an urban setting.

 

Think about how the colours and styles will look in your home

 

Think about the location and the activity and what you would normally wear, then step it up just a little with some attention to detail and coordination.  

Take for instance a photoshoot at the beach wearing shorts and t-shirts with thongs or sandshoes.  Now pick three bright colours and  a base colour that work well together.  Mix them up between shorts, shirts and accessories so not everyone is wearing the exact same thing but there is still connection.

If that's too much colour, perhaps you could choose one colour that everyone would wear, whether it be pants, a shirt, a head band, or a scarf.  I believe there should be something in common, but not the same item, to connect everyone in the image.

Pay attention to the details by making sure your clothes are clean and lint free, shirts have been ironed and don't have large creases, buttons and zips are intact, bra straps are hidden, and tags have been removed.

I always recommend that you avoid large logos, text and images where possible because they can date an image and be very distracting to the viewer.


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Portrait Locations: At Home

Having your family or engagement photos taken in an outdoor location requires a lot more planning than showing up for a photoshoot in a studio but you don’t have to worry because I’m here to guide you through choosing the best times for your favourite locations.

 
  • Comforts of Home

  • Convenience

  • Your Colours

  • Include your pets or pastimes

Here's something to consider; why not have you family portrait taken at home?  Do you have a great back yard or an interesting feature wall that would make the perfect backdrop to your family portrait?  Maybe you want to include your pets, or a pastime.  Or it might just be more convenient to have a photographer come to you.


Portraits in Urban Locations

Having your family or engagement photos taken in an outdoor location requires a lot more planning than showing up for a photoshoot in a studio but you don’t have to worry because I’m here to guide you through choosing the best times for your favourite locations.

  • Bright and Vibrant, Dark and Moody, Gritty

  • Greys, Browns, Blacks, Whites, and Bold Colours

  • Be bold with patterns or colours

  • Any time of day and night

It's quite surprising what you can find close to home.  I find urban locations to be quite intimate places featuring rough walls and textures.  It's hard to beat the Powerhouse at Newstead but if you look closely, hidden gems can be found close to home.

Urban areas are often quite drab with shades of greys and browns, sometimes covered in graffiti or overgrown greenery, or you may find walls covered in bright solid colours.  Bright and bold clothing, both in colour and pattern, lend themselves well to Urban backgrounds.

These locations are typically shaded and dark but you can find the off open area that will get some rays, however most of the time will be in soft light or artificial light such as flashes.

A variety or moods can be created within an urban setting such as light and bright, warm and intimate, cool, dark and grungy.  You should be able to shoot at anytime of the day or night but it depends on how you want your image to look and feel, and also what best suits your desired urban hang out.


Portraits in Beach & Coastal Locations

Having your family or engagement photos taken in an outdoor location requires a lot more planning than showing up for a photoshoot in a studio but you don’t have to worry because I’m here to guide you through choosing the best times for your favourite locations.

  • Bright and Vibrant

  • Whites, Beige, Greens, Aqua, and Blues

  • Go for light, bright, solid colours

  • Mornings or Afternoons

Beaches and Coastal locations differ greatly from Brisbane through to Redcliffe, Bribie Island and the Sunshine Coast.  If you are looking for just nice sandy beaches without people try Red Beach on the southern tip of Bribie Island, which is well suited for late afternoon walks along white sands and into driftwood and paperbark trees.  Want rock pools for nice reflection head to Dicky Beach on the Sunshine Coast.  Shorncliffe has one of the best piers and offers diverse photo opportunities along with playgrounds for the little ones.

Beaches and coastal areas are so diverse with many different backdrops, from bright skies, rocky headlands, piers, open woodlands, and golden sands.  This means a variety of looks can be achieved and sometimes all in the one location.  Light, bright and solid colours work best at the beach so keep it fun and fresh.

Early mornings or late afternoons are best ti visit the coast as the light is a lot softer and warmer to achieve that lovely soft warm glow.  If you are looking for bold and saturated colours it is best to shoot late morning or early afternoon when the sun is high so you can get deep blue skies.  Just remember the downside to this can be harsh shadow and squinting eyes.


Portraits in Rural and Bushland Locations

Having your family or engagement photos taken in an outdoor location requires a lot more planning than showing up for a photoshoot in a studio but you don’t have to worry because I’m here to guide you through choosing the best times for your favourite locations.

  • Bright and Warm

  • Yellows, Oranges, Greens and Browns

  • Wear darker clothing to contrast

  • Early Mornings or Late Afternoons

You don't need to head far out of Caboolture to find a nice rural or bushland scene.  You could go anywhere off the beaten track such as Kurwongba, Wamuran, Elimbah, Woodford, Mt Mee, Beerwah, or the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Open Bushland and Rural scenes can vary dramatically, from dense trees to great open vistas.  You will generally find elements such as dirt roads, trails, fences, structures and long grass to include in your portraits.

These areas offer light and bright backdrops with warm colour tones such as yellows, oranges, and browns, but still have a fair bit of green.

To avoid harsh overhead light, these locations are best shot early in the morning and later afternoon because at these times you can expect nice golden light which is perfect for back-lighting and flares. Darker clothing works well here for contrast with the lighter backgrounds, however wearing light and bright complimentary colours such as blues and whites help achieve bright airy images.


Portraits in Rainforest Locations

Having your family or engagement photos taken in an outdoor location requires a lot more planning than showing up for a photoshoot in a studio but you don’t have to worry because I’m here to guide you through choosing the best times for your favourite locations.

  • Dark and Moody

  • Greens, Browns, Greys and Black

  • Wear brighter colours to contrast

  • Mid-Morning to Mid-Afternoon

Head to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland for amazing rainforest locations such as Kondalilla Falls or Mary Cairncross Reserve.  You will come across some wonderful elements such as interesting tree trunks to pose against, rocks and boulders to sit on, pathways and bridged to lead into the scene, and not forgetting waterfalls and streams.

The rainforests are typically dark and moody with hues of browns, greens and blacks, so choose brighter colours that contrast with the dark greens of the background.

Rainforests are great at any time of day as the sunlight doesn't change dramatically under the dense canopies.  On sunny days you may get a lot of dappled light and pockets of light shining down like spotlights.

Alternatively, if the weather is overcast and verging on light showers, your images will tend to be softer and more evenly lit without harsh lighting and shadows.  I feel that the middle hours of the day are well suited to a rainforest photoshoot.