A pho­to shoot on the street in the warm sea­son is a great option for begin­ners. You can call friends and train with­out spend­ing mon­ey on rent­ing a stu­dio and with­out think­ing about time lim­its. But where to start? How to pre­pare for out­door pho­tog­ra­phy? What equip­ment will be need­ed?

We share life hacks that will help you pre­pare for an out­door pho­to shoot and get spec­tac­u­lar shots.

To get an unusu­al and atmos­pher­ic shot, ask the mod­el to lie on the ground, a stone, a fall­en tree trunk, a riv­er bank, ice and shoot from ground lev­el / Pho­to: Eliza­ve­ta Chechevit­sa / vk.com/lizma

Preparing for an outdoor photo session

In order for the pho­to shoot to look spec­tac­u­lar and holis­tic, the shoot­ing needs to be thought out in advance. For plein air work, this is espe­cial­ly true, because you can­not run to the dress­ing room in the pho­to stu­dio and ask, for exam­ple, for addi­tion­al props. We’ll tell you where to start.

Decide on an idea

You can start from dif­fer­ent things — the unusu­al appear­ance of the mod­el, loca­tion, found props or the desire to work with a cer­tain col­or, light or genre.

For exam­ple, an albi­no girl can be pho­tographed in a sculp­tor’s work­shop, among white stat­ues, or go into con­trast and shoot a mot­ley stu­dio filled with details. Or maybe you will find an aban­doned church and want to make a mys­ti­cal shoot­ing with can­dles there?

The main thing is to clear­ly define what result is need­ed, dis­cuss it with the mod­el and for­mu­late the idea, best of all in writ­ing. This will help not to spread out and nar­row down the fur­ther search for props, loca­tions, clothes.

Build it yourself and ask the model for references

Ref­er­ences can be your past pho­to shoots or shoot­ings of oth­er pho­tog­ra­phers, draw­ings, art, screen­shots from clips or films, paint­ings. Col­lect­ed sam­ples will help you get inspired, find new ideas and avoid mis­takes that oth­er authors could make. Ref­er­ences can also be found on image aggre­ga­tors like Pin­ter­est.

Want to take a pho­to shoot with a fern? So write in the search — a pho­to shoot with a fern. Inter­est­ing ref­er­ences for sure! Or maybe a curly red-haired girl with freck­les is com­ing to your pho­to ses­sion? And for this type on the Inter­net there will be ideas!

Think over the image and find the location

Some­times the shoot­ing loca­tion is cho­sen accord­ing to the clothes and appear­ance of the mod­el, and some­times the loca­tion gives rise to asso­ci­a­tions, under which they are look­ing for every­thing else. The main thing is that one fits and com­ple­ments the oth­er, or enters into a thought­ful con­trast.

If your ideas and ref­er­ences are not enough to cre­ate the desired look, use the ser­vices of a styl­ist, and also take a look at our shoot­ing styling guide.

When the image and loca­tion are found, the main thing remains — the work of the mod­el. An inter­est­ing pic­ture can be obtained if you ask the hero in the frame to close his eyes. This cre­ates the impres­sion of peace or self-absorp­tion / Pho­to: Eliza­ve­ta Chechevit­sa / vk.com/lizma

Gather props and accessories

With the right image and props, even the sim­plest loca­tion works to cre­ate an atmos­pher­ic shot. Some­times you need to buy or rent it, but often the most ordi­nary things that have already become so famil­iar in every­day life that no one pays atten­tion to them will do.

Maybe it’s a dried bou­quet of flow­ers that has been stand­ing for a cou­ple of months? Old book? A half-burned can­dle? Mir­ror inher­it­ed from grand­ma? A shab­by vin­tage suit­case? The lit­tle things always make a shoot come alive.

Do you want a soft look? Rent a translu­cent dress with flow­ing sleeves and a long hem, go to the flower field and add a wreath woven from fresh flow­ers. Need a witch? Rent the appro­pri­ate look from a car­ni­val cos­tume rental, add a skull/broom/candlestick with vin­tage-style black can­dles you rent­ed or bought from an online store and go to the ruins found on the out­skirts of the city or the gloomy for­est of spring/autumn for­est, when there are no leaves on the trees any­more .

Draw storyboards

This will help you feel con­fi­dent on the set, because you will under­stand what angles and pos­es you need. It will also make it eas­i­er to work with the mod­el — there will be no awk­ward paus­es when you are on the go try­ing to under­stand what your client should do next. The ner­vous­ness and uncer­tain­ty of the pho­tog­ra­ph­er is felt and trans­ferred to the mod­el.

You don’t need to be an artist — schemat­i­cal­ly (lit­er­al­ly with lines) depict how the hands will be locat­ed; large, medi­um or long-range plan you take; the mod­el will stand, sit or lie down.

What equipment and photographic equipment to take for shooting on the street

After a detailed study of the idea, it’s time to assem­ble all the nec­es­sary equip­ment. Some­times for a pho­to shoot you need to go far out of town, so you need to take things to the max­i­mum.

For shoot­ing at dusk and at night, a fast lens (f / 2.8 or less) is indis­pens­able. Long-focus will help you get a good por­trait even at a great dis­tance. For exam­ple, if you are pho­tograph­ing across the road or on the oth­er side of a small riv­er. A wide-angle lens cap­tures a lot of space in the frame, allow­ing you to reveal the mood and char­ac­ter of the hero through the envi­ron­ment.

Take at least 1–2 spare bat­ter­ies with you. This is espe­cial­ly true for begin­ners, for whom, due to inex­pe­ri­ence, shoot­ing can take sev­er­al hours.

It will help soft­en shad­ows when shoot­ing on a sun­ny day, add light to shad­owy areas, and can also serve as a dif­fuser. Read about how to work with a reflec­tor in the text.

  • Water­proof case

Use a water­proof case to pro­tect your cam­era from rain, snow, and splash­es. It is also suit­able for under­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­phy. If you are pho­tograph­ing near a pond in the sum­mer, and the mod­el is not averse to get­ting into the water, why not try it?

The lens hood will help pro­tect the cam­era from direct sun­light enter­ing the lens, which is harm­ful to the cam­era. On the oth­er hand, often pho­tog­ra­phers allow the sun to get into the frame a lit­tle to get spec­tac­u­lar blowouts and rays.

It may be nec­es­sary if you are exper­i­ment­ing with long expo­sures, shoot­ing in low light con­di­tions — night, twi­light, wee hours.

It will help to set the cor­rect white bal­ance. What is white bal­ance, how to adjust it, read the mate­r­i­al.

In some sit­u­a­tions, cor­rect­ing the white bal­ance is harm­ful to the atmos­phere of the frame. You should not cor­rect it in pho­tographs inten­tion­al­ly tak­en in places with col­ored light / Pho­to: Eliza­ve­ta Chechevit­sa / vk.com/lizma
  • Con­ve­nient pho­to back­pack

A very impor­tant ele­ment that begin­ners for­get about. In a thought­ful pho­to back­pack, you can place lens­es with­out fear for their safe­ty, it is con­ve­nient to attach a tri­pod. Also there are often spe­cial pock­ets for small items — mem­o­ry cards, bat­ter­ies. Shoot­ing out­doors usu­al­ly involves the pho­tog­ra­ph­er tak­ing a lot of things and equip­ment with them.

If, when shoot­ing in the city, you can still quick­ly run into the near­est pho­to store and buy a card, then when shoot­ing in a for­est or field, this will not work. The cards weigh only a cou­ple of grams, but you can cap­ture what­ev­er you want. How to choose a mem­o­ry card, read the text.

Outdoor and plein air photo shoot — ideas and life hacks

A pho­to shoot on the street and open air is essen­tial­ly the same thing — it’s shoot­ing out­doors. Only in the first case, we pho­to­graph in the city, among the build­ings, and in the sec­ond — in nature, plac­ing the mod­el in a “wild” envi­ron­ment. We share tips on what to pay atten­tion to in each of the sit­u­a­tions and how to get the most spec­tac­u­lar and atmos­pher­ic pho­tos.

Top 10 tips for shooting on the streets of the city and in nature

  • Let the mod­el inter­act with the urban space

We are not talk­ing about cre­ative shots where a per­son “push­es” a build­ing or holds it in the palm of his hand — let’s leave this in the past. But the hero of the shoot­ing can “live” in the frame — run under a canopy to hide from the rain, wait for trans­port at a bus stop or a soul­mate who is late for a date. All this can help to turn what is hap­pen­ing in the pic­ture into a sto­ry, which will add a cin­e­mat­ic frame.

  • Use the light around

Lanterns, neon signs, adver­tis­ing pan­els, light falling from the win­dows of cafes or shops — any urban light­ing can be used to get atmos­pher­ic shots and an inter­est­ing black and white pat­tern.

Some­times a neon sign is all it takes to make a frame bright and eye-catch­ing. Place the mod­el close enough to get the col­ored light on it. And if you add glass­es as props, you can catch spec­tac­u­lar glare in the glass­es / Pho­to: Eliza­ve­ta Chechevit­sa / vk.com/lizma
  • Find and study places for a pho­to shoot on the street in advance

Almost any city can be very dif­fer­ent — some­where there will be a glass new build­ing for busi­ness por­traits and fash­ion shoots, in the cen­ter you are like­ly to come across old build­ings where gen­tle female por­traits and love sto­ries will look good, and on the out­skirts you can always find some some old garages for a pho­to shoot in the aes­thet­ics of the 90s. You will feel more con­fi­dent, and the shoot­ing will be visu­al­ly coher­ent, and you will find and study the loca­tions in advance.

  • Get off the beat­en “tourist” routes

Yes, you can always find an inter­est­ing angle and beat what is hap­pen­ing in the frame, but why repeat your­self? Some­times an incon­spic­u­ous court­yard can look much more spec­tac­u­lar in the frame than a well-known land­mark that peo­ple have seen hun­dreds of times.

  • Notice the details

Reflec­tions in glass and pud­dles, bun­nies reflect­ed from shiny sur­faces, light falling through the grat­ing of a city fence — all this will make the frame inter­est­ing. The main thing is to notice in time.

  • Be pre­pared for weath­er changes and have a con­tin­gency plan

Sud­den rain, snow, or part­ly cloudy weath­er when you were expect­ing a cloudy sky can make shoot­ing dif­fi­cult if you don’t pre­pare for the unex­pect­ed ahead of time. In case of a cold snap in autumn or spring, take a ther­mos, for shoot­ing in rain or snow — an umbrel­la, a reg­u­lar bag or a water­proof case (read the text for how to pho­to­graph dur­ing bad weath­er). It is also a good option to take sev­er­al images for the mod­el so that the appear­ance of the hero match­es the atmos­phere in the frame.

  • Take props

If the mod­el is inex­pe­ri­enced, she may not know how to inter­act with space and her body, how to place her hands. To dis­tract a per­son, inspire con­fi­dence and add integri­ty to the frame, the appro­pri­ate props will help.

Often the props can be found already on the spot! Take a free news­pa­per if you’re in the city, pick flow­ers when shoot­ing in the open air. Or, as in the pho­to, put the mod­el in the thick of green­ery, ask­ing her to hug and cud­dle up to her — this will enliv­en and fill the pho­to with details / Pho­to: Eliza­ve­ta Chechevit­sa / vk.com/lizma
  • Don’t skimp on the “spe­cial effects”

This is espe­cial­ly true if you are shoot­ing out­doors where there are no peo­ple. Light a fire, build a torch, use smoke bombs, pyrotech­nics, sparklers, arti­fi­cial snow — all this will make the pho­to ses­sion more effec­tive. But don’t for­get safe­ty pre­cau­tions.

  • Avoid direct sun

Direct sun at noon. For many pho­tog­ra­phers, this sounds like a death sen­tence, as it pro­duces harsh, rough shad­ows and makes the mod­el squint. But this can be avoid­ed! Go into the shade of trees in the open air and into the shade of build­ings in the city. Place the mod­el under awnings and roofs. If this does not help, use a reflec­tor or arti­fi­cial light.

Shoot in “mode time” to get soft and warm light. This is a con­di­tion­al hour at dawn or sun­set, when the sun just ris­es or falls below the hori­zon.

  • Think about col­or

Think­ing over the image, props and com­bin­ing it with a suit­able loca­tion is not always enough. Pay atten­tion to the com­bi­na­tion of col­ors of the mod­el’s cloth­ing and loca­tion. Play on sim­i­lar­i­ty or, on the con­trary, on con­trast. For exam­ple, if you are pho­tograph­ing near a bright graf­fi­ti on the street, the image can be just as rich and dar­ing. Or will you go the oppo­site way and pre­fer neu­tral, con­cise col­ors?