How to Have the Perfect Outdoor Photoshoot

Author: Mosquito Squad of Greater Washington DC

It seems like summer just ended, but supermarkets and department stores are already preparing us for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Whether you like it or not, that means it’s time to start thinking about the photo for your family holiday card!

We’ve still got a few weeks of nice weather, so we recommend doing the photo shoot outside so you can take advantage of the fall colors. Whether the portrait is for a holiday card or just for fun, there are a few things you should keep in mind to insure your pictures turns out great.

Find the perfect backdrop

Before you schedule your photo shoot, you’ll need to choose the location. Consider the feeling you want to evoke in your portrait – be it a casual, cozy gathering in your backyard, an elegant affair in a botanical garden, or a breezy beach day. You’ll also want to take into account the colors you want to wear and how that will pair with the colors in your backdrop or background. Whites and blues go great on a sandy shoreline, while rustic earth tones complement bright fall foliage.

Once you’ve chosen your setting, you and your photographer should talk about the specific background composition. You’ll want to avoid these three elements that can spoil a shot:

  1. Distracting focal points like street signs or other people.
  2. Items that appear to be sticking out of a subject’s head, like a tree or plant.
  3. Too many competing lines and angles in the background.

Choose the right time of day

Every photographer knows that light is the key to a beautiful photo. Good lighting will make you look like a supermodel, while bad lighting can completely ruin a picture. The best light occurs during the “golden hour.” This is the time when the sun is at the perfect angle and strength to make any subject glow.

The golden hour happens about an hour and a half after sunrise or an hour and a half around sunset (approximately 45 minutes before and after). Try to plan your photo shoot during one of these windows so your photographer can take advantage of the picture-perfect beams of light to make your photo shine.

Keep bugs away

It’s a little tough to wake up and look camera-ready at sunrise, so the evening golden hour is typically easier to schedule. This means you’ll also have to battle mosquitoes, who love the sunset just as much as you do. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to keep bugs away from your photo set.

Mosquitoes are weak fliers, so you can set up a fan to provide a steady breeze and keep the pests from landing on you while you pose for your close up. As an added bonus, the fan may even blow your hair or your scarf, giving your photo that coveted natural windswept look.

While you’re getting ready for your photo shoot, be sure to apply an effective mosquito repellent. DEET is a reliable option, but there are also natural mosquito repellents that work almost as well. Choose the spray that works best for you and your family.

If you’re holding the photo shoot at your home and the mosquitoes in your yard are especially ferocious, consider a barrier spray on your property. Our safe and effective treatments will keep pests away for up to 21 days, so you’ll stay bug-free long after your photo shoot is complete. Contact DC Mosquito Squad to find out more.

Hide your bug bites

If you were the victim of a mosquito attack and are sporting huge red welts from your last outdoor event, there are some easy ways to conceal these bites so they won’t ruin your portrait. After all, you don’t want to remember those itchy bug bites long after they fade!

Right after you get bitten, bring down the swelling by washing the area with soap and cold water, and applying an ice cube. Then, relieve the itching so you won’t be tempted to scratch. A topical hydrocortisone cream, a DIY baking soda paste, or an allergy medicine like Benadryl should do the trick. Scratching the bite until it’s raw can cause infection, so stopping the itch will help you avoid more problems down the line.

Once the swelling and the itching have subsided, you can cover up the bite with makeup – as long as it’s not bleeding or infected. Be sure to wash your hands and use clean makeup applicators on the bite. A cream concealer will usually be enough to cover the bite, but if it’s really red, you can try a green color corrector to even out the tone. Then finish it with a shade that matches your skin. Be sure to blend the area well so it doesn’t stand out.

Use these practical tips to combat common problems that occur during outdoor photo shoots. Just remember the bugs, background, lighting and colors can all impact the outcome of your outdoor photographs. Once you’ve handled these,  all you have to do is smile and say cheese!