by Guest Contributor Brooke Martin
Sometimes it is hard to photograph outside where there are unpredictable backgrounds. Have you ever taken a photo that you loved (like, really loved) only to find out that there is a random branch behind your subject that looks like it is poking them in the head? Or, didn’t notice a distracting object in the background until it was too late?
We’ve all been there. Mother nature doesn’t always play nice. However, there are ways to make the outdoors work for you. Placing your subjects in the perfect spot so that the lines and curves that are in the shot work to draw attention to what you want.
Let’s look through some examples:
Mimic What You See
Take note of the trees. Notice their shape and the way they curve. When photographing couples, mimicking the lines of trees can dramatically change an image.
By placing these couples below or between these trees, we are able to frame them in. It’s like creating your very own picture frame with branches. By doing this it draws our attention to the couple and their unity within the frame.
With these two trees, it mimics the look of the two figures as they walk into the sunset together (how romantic, right?). By copying what the trees are doing, the attention is brought to the couple.
Instead of posing the couple side by side, I had them come in close to each other. Look at how the main tree branch is arching over them. This line is similar to the line of his arm around her. The branch is hugging them, and he is hugging her. These curves draw you into their intimate moment together.
When you are told something twice, you know that is must be important. So, you pay attention, right? By copying that curve, you tell the viewer the same thing. It appears twice – they know it must be special!
Shoot Between the Lines
In perspective shots, people will naturally follow the lines with their eyes to see where they will intersect. It’s like an arrow saying, “Look here!”
Place your subject right where those lines meet and your viewer will automatically focus on what you want them to. Lines of a bridge or building will quickly become your friend.
Let’s look at this frame together. First of all, how cute is she?! I know, I can’t handle it either. Secondly, check out those lines! We have the yellow line under her that draws us to the focal point: her. There are also lines from the bridge that lead directly to her face. All lines lead directly to where we want the attention to go. The first thing we see when we look at the photo is her face.
I put this senior smack dab in the middle of these lines. The line from the top of the fence disappears right where his head is. On the right side, the lines of the building draw the eyes into his head as well. To accentuate this look, I had him grab his glasses. This connects those white lines with his face. So, we not only draw attention to his face, but we specifically focus on his eyes. Even better! By placing the subject in the middle of the lines, we get the viewer to focus on what we want them to.
Play With Lines
There are several lines in this photo. The curve of her arms supporting herself, the lines of the railroad track, and the straight lines of her body – each of these lines are doing something different. Be creative with the lines and see what happens.
Try it on yourself! Look through photos and see where your eye naturally goes. Pick out the lines and curves that entice your eye to go to that spot. Once you nail that down, implement it into your outdoor shoots.
Pay attention to the lines and curves that are at your disposal and use them to their full advantage!
About the Author: Brooke Martin is a lifestyle and wedding photographer in Denver, Colorado. With gorgeous mountains and nearly constant sunshine, Brooke specializes in natural lighting and outdoor photography. Being a Colorado native, she adds a warm, laid back, fun, and natural ambiance to her shoots all around the country.