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During an engagement session or wedding shoot, how often do you incorporate landscapes into your photos? If you shoot most of your weddings outdoors, chances are you work around beautiful settings during many of your shoots. If, however, you primarily shoot indoors, do you suggest to your clients to step out and add a breathtaking location for that picture-perfect setting to document their engagement or wedding story? Spicing up your portfolio is key to remain relevant and inspired in the photography industry. Although shooting with remarkable landscapes may seem simple, it can also become a bit of a challenge. When you choose a location to shoot in, there are still plenty of decisions to make with regard to capturing the perfect shots - right from the correct angles and lighting conditions to the compositional elements, everything needs to fall in line. Wondering how to get it right each time you shoot outdoors? Here are 7 ideas for including them in your portraits to help you create interesting and compelling photos for your couple at your next wedding photography assignment.

How To Include The Landscape In Your Portraits

Shooting landscapes may seem simple, but you need to factor in a lot of things to get that breathtaking outdoor shot.

Considering that a lot goes into incorporating the landscape into your images and making them a part of the stories you tell through your photos, we suggest you do your planning and put everything together before you actually set out to capture the outdoors. And the list we’ve shared below could give you an idea about what to take into account when you are planning for one.

1. Scout Stunning Locations

A bride and groom posing on top of a cliff with the sea in the background

Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @dannydong

Is there a certain place the bride and groom mentioned they would love to visit to have their photos taken? This is an opportunity to find a unique location to shoot your couple during their engagement session or wedding portraits. If your couple is unsure where they want to go or indecisive about their wedding venue, but know they want to take their photos outside, make sure you have a few location ideas up your sleeves that would make for perfect landscape shots.

2. Bring Proper Gear

Once you decide where you will shoot your couple, choose the equipment that will help to capture your couple and the landscape in a way that creates a dynamic image. Use a wide angle lens to cover a larger area and to capture more of the scene. Another piece of gear you can bring to an outdoor shoot is a tripod, which could help you ensure that you accurately incorporate the surroundings in your shots - just clear, steady shots.

3. Master Composition And Framing

 Proper framing ensures that the viewer’s eye is guided to the focus of the photo.
Your composition and framing plays a crucial role. When looking for composition in your photo, pay attention to opportunities for symmetry, texture, and depth of field. Mastering the basics of composition can create interest for your photo and help the focus on your couple, even with an impressive background.

As you look for proper framing, see where your eye leads initially. Proper framing means you lead the eye toward your couple, who are likely the focus of the photo. The landscape in this case provides beautiful scenery and enhances the story of the wedding day for your couple.

4. Use The Rule Of Thirds

During your shoot with your couples, use the rule of thirds to ensure you master the composition of the photo and include the landscape. With the rule of thirds, decide what position is best suited for your couple for each shot. So you can avoid shooting your couple straight on for every image, place them off-centered in your frame. Not only do you showcase more open space when you place them off-centered, this way, even your photo becomes more interesting. Also, you can create balance for your photos by placing your couple away from the center of the shot. Perhaps there is a large tree that is a part of the landscape; then, position the bride and groom on the opposite end of the frame to create proper balance and create a unique perspective.

5. Look For Unique Angles

A couple posing beside a pool at a balcony overlooking the sea

Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @dannydong

Because landscapes can vary in size and height, it could be beneficial for you to move around with your camera to capture unique angles. Sometimes, shooting straight on with a large mountain in the background may not bring out the full potential of a scene. Therefore, consider shooting from higher and lower angles so you can properly capture everything the surrounding has to offer. Also, work with your clients to change positions, especially when the sun moves or it becomes cloudy, so you can continue to shoot stunning photos from new angles at the same location.

Planning the time of the day you will shoot at a certain location can also give you the opportunity to shoot from the angles you desire. If you know a certain location gets very sunny later in the day, plan to do the shoot earlier in the morning or later in the evening. For times when you cannot control what time you start shooting, move your clients around so you can capture them in the best light possible. Note that it can be helpful to scout the location early on so you know exactly where to position your clients and what the light will look like during the time of your shoot.

6. Incorporate Silhouettes

A couple posing a twirl during sunset in a countryside

Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @dannydong

One way to feature landscapes in your images, and create an interesting photo, is to shoot silhouettes. Decide where you want your clients to stand in relation to the landscape, and focus on exposing the brightest part of the background. This could give a more dramatic feel to your images. With silhouetting, your photo will showcase your couple’s outline as they are shadowed by the backlight. When the sky is still light, you can silhouette everything else and have a powerful color coming from the sky to add a “wow” factor to your images. To create a powerful silhouette, pay attention to how you pose your couple. Because they are silhouetted, and only the background and landscape are fully visible, make sure they are not posed in a way that could cause confusion. One way of doing that is having them stand apart from one another, holding hands and facing the landscape or each other.

7. Focus On Leading Lines

As the name suggests, a leading line guides the viewer to what you want them to see and engages them in your story and subject. For you to create an image that stands out, pay attention to the leading lines in the photograph. You can use leading lines in the foreground to draw the eye to the main focus of your image - your couple. Whether you are shooting in an open field or in front of a large mountain, leading lines could help you place the focus on your image. Think in terms of a river, a road, or even a bridge! If you are using a wide angle lens, consider moving closer to the foreground to make it a main feature. Wondering what to do if you don’t have much of an option for appealing foreground elements? We suggest you change locations to find new details to include in your frame.

Weave The Landscape Into Your Story

A bride and groom posing on top of a cliff in front of a stunning landscape

Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @dannydong

Having a stunning landscape as a backdrop to photograph your couples against can elevate your pictures instantly and add to your story. So look for ways to weave the surroundings into your couple’s wedding story. Finding ways to creatively include the background in your portraits could provide your couple with beautiful images they can cherish for years to come. Tastefully shot landscape portraits can even double up as great wall art for your clients to showcase these pieces in their homes. From the rolling mountains to the crashing waves, when it comes to shooting the outdoors, give yourself the freedom to get adventurous and try out new, creative ideas to capture these scenes in their true element. Because, in the end, this form of photography is all about capturing the essence of the outdoors and drawing the viewer in and transporting them to the location - in the click of a button! 

At ShootDotEdit, we are committed to helping you grow as a wedding photographer. So that you can dedicate more time to perfect your craft, we lessen your post-production workload with our professional photo editing services. To learn more about how we can help, check out our pricing plans.

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