December is a month symbolizing both ending a year and preparing for new beginning. Now is the time to begin planning those family portraits for holiday keepsakes or to take advantage of the changing seasons. Get outdoors and start researching local natural beauties. Keep reading for six creative outdoor portrait favorites that never fail.
The natural road and trees provide excellent backdrops for fall and winter portraits. The simplicity highlights any family or friend.
An old barn or worn out structure can make for a great backdrop both up close ‘against the grain’ and in the distance.
Beautiful backdrop for dawn or dusk. Sitting or standing are equally easy and appealing. If children are in the portrait, the tall grass can be fun to play in and helps initiate the capture of natural smiles and cherished moments.
A front door is simple, cute, and intriguing. Finding a unique door isn’t as hard as it sounds. If you don’t have a (personal) door that makes the cut, start focusing on the doors of old structures around you from abandoned buildings or small family owned businesses. Be bold and ask to borrow the simple backdrop for a family portrait. You may even make some new friends in the process. Add extra flair with a handmade sign showcasing a personal message or have a family member within the portrait hold a wreath.
The angles and options with most bridges or docks over water are plentiful. Be creative and leave with multiple shots.
Finding an abandoned track would be safest and most likely have a unique appeal. An inspiring theme of where you’ve come from and where you’re going. Finding the perfect track may be difficult but worth the research. There is something serene about a set of tracks in the background.
Tips: Most photographs, no matter what experience you have, will turn out best either in the early morning hours or late afternoon. Mid-day can create harsh light and unfavorable shadows. On the topic of attire, not all family members have to match, unless this is the look or theme you’re going for. For winter portraits and depending on the theme, natural colored clothing is a great palette to focus on: orange, red, brown, black, green, white, and gray.
Finding contrast between family attire and the backdrop being used is a good start. However, some family portraits can be just as successful when matching the environment and including a few pops of color. For instance, each individual could match one piece of clothing (a sweater, hat, or pants) with the fall leaves in bright orange, red and brown. Or, if your backdrop is covered in a snowy white layer, all members could wear white with a pop or bright red or orange through a simple scarf, hat, or playful prop.
Now get out there are start planning the portraits for a beautiful ending and beginning to the year.
If you have other ideas that have worked well for portraits or you have a favorite family portrait tradition, please share.