Remember the days before smartphones? It was hard to get decent photos! There was a whole process, and it was a little labor intensive. Either you had to get professional photos, you were forced to buy fancy cameras and editing software for your desktop at home, or you had to try your luck with disposable cameras and HOPE they turned out. Luckily, we have mobile devices and easy apps to help edit photos so that we can take high-quality photos with ease - all in the comfort of our own homes.
A lot of companies are taking this approach too and trying to get more candid shots without wasting the money on a bunch of expensive equipment. However, we want to warn you that taking a great photo on your phone is a little more complicated than just snapping pictures. There are plenty of bad photos and you don’t want that!
Here are a few easy tips to help you create a fantastic photoshoot in your backyard. Improve your photography game and get fantastic prints you’ll be proud of.
Tips To A Great Photoshoot In Your Backyard
Take It At The Right Time
The best tip for a great photoshoot in your backyard is to take your photos at the right time. You want to avoid harsh shadows on your models, have enough light that the photos look great, and also have time to retake if some of them turn out poorly. Typically, there is a time known as “the golden hour,” which is actually a 2-3 hour gap right after sunrise or before the sun sets. This is what photographers consider to be the best light of the day, not too bright or too soft.
Another tip is to schedule your photoshoot in your backyard on a gloomy and cloudy day. Clouds produce a soft like that can turn outdoor portraits into a natural look that you won’t find in an indoor studio.
We also suggest that you lean into the season. What’s interesting about the specific season? Make use of snowflakes and the changing leaves, take advantage of the trees blossoming in spring. When you’re taking an outdoor photoshoot in your backyard, everything can be at your disposal. Each season presents opportunities to capture great photos in natural light, and a lot of our smartphones even have settings to help you get the best photo.
Avoid Zooming In
We’ve all been tempted, but we suggest avoiding zooming in with your camera phone. Even if you’re taking a photo from a distance, it’s better not to zoom in. When you use the zoom feature, your photo could turn out grainy, blurry, or pixelated.
We suggest getting closer if you can, or investing in a zoom lense that works with your phone. The last thing you want to do on your backyard photoshoot is to compromise quality. It’s easier to optimize and play around with the crop later with a full size and high quality image.
Go Beyond the Classic Portrait Look
Though we love the classic portrait style pictures, we encourage all amateur photographers to go off the beaten path a little. Your backyard photoshoot doesn’t have to be just in your backyard! Find a cool rustic abandoned building or venture into street photography. You can try various angles and poses for your models - even if they’re just your kids. Trying various locations in your neighborhood can help you find the lighting that works best and gives you more ideas.
If you really want to take amazing photos, then the key is to make it interesting. Get creative! Your yard can be turned into a unique space and your neighborhood might be full of landscape features you can use as a backdrop.
Use a Prop
Sometimes your backyard is just boring or maybe you just have a really ugly fence. Maybe you don’t have a yard at all but you’re still looking to set up your own photoshoot. We suggest investing in props! Bringing props in the picture can help make the photos more interesting. In many cases, simply bringing a bench or chair out of the house into the outdoors is a great way to help your models pose.
Props are also a great way to distract your kids or friends, the subjects of your photos, so that you can get a more natural smile. Something to hold or site on can help them focus and stay in the zone.
More Photos Mean More Choice
Another tried and true tip you’ll get from any photographer, indoor or out, is to take A LOT of shots. Take duplicates so that you have lots of options to choose from. From getting out of focus, to someone moving at the last second, and more, there are lots of ways a great photo can be ruined, so it pays off to be prepared.
Luckily, most smartphones capture photos very quickly, so that you can take multiple snaps of the same shot in two seconds or less.
Try To Avoid Flash
In very rare occasions, using your camera’s flash can improve a photo, but almost never does it actually help at night. Dark shots will come out much sharper in contrast when you use the flash, making your photo look too sharp and unbalanced. However, in already well-lit spaces, using your flash can soften some of the darker shadows surrounding your main subject.
Some phone cameras have an “auto” setting for flash, meaning that it automatically reads how much light is coming into your camera so that it can flash when it deems necessary. Try this, but make sure you compare and contrast the photos that have flash to see how they turn out.
Consider Buying A Mobile Tripod
If you’re serious about hosting a photoshoot in your backyard and maybe even want to be in the photos, then a mobile tripod might be the solution you need. A tripod helps shots stay level and balanced and eliminates the need for traditional selfies with your arm extended.
Mobile tripods also give you the freedom to get hands free shots without any heavy and unnecessary equipment. You can invest in some really great and inexpensive tripods that can get you a variety of angles and enhance your entire photoshoot experience.
Our last piece of advice for taking an amazing photoshoot in your backyard is to try not to have too many posed photos. Posed photos are great for the sake of memories, but photos become priceless when you capture true smiles that weren’t meant for the camera.
Candid photos better capture the emotion and the essence of a moment that you can miss with posed portraits. Plus, candids are easier! Snap away at your camera. Don’t wait for people to be ready, just try to capture the moment. You’ll have way more options to choose from and they will be much more interesting!
Great photography taken with your phone is an artform, which means it takes practice! Hopefully some of our tips and tricks will help you take amazing photos and also save you time and energy.
Grab your camera, grab your family, and head outside for a quick adventure that will get you amazing portraits you’ll love to print out and show off. Once you get the photos you want, come back here and let us help you get the exact custom prints you need for your home!