Practical advice for an awesome session
Portrait sessions outdoors offer a real, authentic and romantic alternative to studio photography, however the downsides are that we are at the mercy of Mother Nature. We’ve tried to offer some practical advice in the next few sections so that we can all have a great day of portraits.
IF THE WEATHER IS BAD, WHAT DO WE DO?
Unless it’s a monsoon we recommend sticking with it. Rain can be a fantastic feature for portraits and as long as we don’t get cold. As Ranulph Fiennes once said “There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”
We hope so. If it snows enjoy it as much as possible. Make snow angels and have snowball fights and do literally anything you like. It will be awesome.
Bring a hat and a hairbrush if you have one. It will stop your hair looking frizzy. The thing is, if it’s windy, embrace it. At some point near the end of the session it’s good to let your hair down and let it go wild in the wind. Some of our favourite romantic shots are from windy days with windswept hair.
REALLY SUNNY DAYS
Very sunny days, particularly ones with broken clouds, are incredibly difficult to manage for portraits. The light is either way too bright or constantly changing. This is usually only a problem in the mid-day summer sun but can also be a big problem in Scotland in winter (the angle of the sun is low and inconvenient at that time of year)
In summer we avoid it by scheduling sessions before sunset, when the light is less harsh. Conveniently this is also better for avoiding sunburn or sunstroke. In winter we’ll aim to find open shade such as tree canopies or large buildings to control the light the way we need it.
CHANGING AN OUTFIT ON LOCATION
If you want to hike up a munro or through a glen but still look stylish and chic for the photos then we recommend you change out of your activewear while on location.
Ideally we’ll plan a session to be near public bathrooms but that’s not always possible. In more remote locations we can create a mobile changing room out of large sheets or blankets held up for your modesty. Alternatively (or to be extra secure) you can wear long base layers under your regular clothes in winter or a similar but less insulating base layer in the summer. Since they are usually so thin they won’t be in the way when you change into your Sunday best.
We’ve done sessions where couples have changed from walking gear into a wedding dress in strong winter winds, on top of a hill with fairly little fuss. If you are happy to change outside we highly recommend it for locations that are less accessible (hill tops, 5k hikes etc…)
HERE ARE A FEW MORE TIPS TO GET THE BEST OUT OF A PORTRAIT SESSION :
- DRESS FOR THE SCENE – Wear clothes that won’t look out of place in the chosen location notwithstanding wedding clothes which look awesome anywhere!
- WEAR COMPLIMENTARY COLOURS – Outfits should consist of a limited colour palette that will compliment complexions and accent other outfits.
- WEAR PRINTS WISELY – Clothing and accessories with medium and large patterns are best. Try mixing with solids to balance things out.
- DRESS FOR THE SEASON AND WEATHER – Being dressed for the season will make your photos look natural because you’ll be more comfortable during the shoot.
- WEAR CLOTHES THAT REFLECT YOUR STYLE – Keep it classic and timeless, but don’t be afraid to add some personality.
- DON’T WEAR BUSY PATTERNS AND EXTREME COLOURS – Small, intricate patterns, and overly bright colours are distracting and will clash with the location.
- DON’T WEAR ANYTHING THAT’S TRENDY – Go for timeless and avoid clothes that will look dated in a few years (hello, shoulder pads!)
- TRY TO AVOID TOO MUCH BLACK OR WHITE – Black and white can lose a lot of detail in many environments.
…and a little bit extra to prepare for the session
- Check the weather – Dress warm just in case there’s bad weather.
- Have something to eat before you start the session. No one looks relaxed when they are hungry.
- If you have a dog, bring a dog. If you don’t have a dog, don’t steal someone else’s, they’ll notice.