Outdoors Groom-To-Be Portrait

For outdoor portraits on location, I’ll often walk around an area with a subject. This keeps things relaxed and means when we come across a great location, we can set up a shot right there. However, although my general approach is spontaneous, I’m studying and checking every detail of the frame before I press the shutter release.

Relaxed groom-to-be portrait

This was shot as part of an engagement portrait session at Black Heath, in Greenwich. Phill is one of the most fashion-savvy grooms I’ve had as a client, and I loved how calm, cool and chilled out he was.

I can’t remember why we ended up by the tree but it just seemed to work having him lean against it and look away. However, there’s a lot about this image that is very intentional.

Frames, noses and lifting the exposure

Firstly, I’ve changed my angle and his position to arrange him between the tree he is leaning on and the tree in the distant background as well as the branch passing over his head. This frame-within-a-frame is a compositional technique I use a lot.

Secondly, although I have asked him to look away to the right of the frame, the tip of his nose is still contained within the profile of his cheek. If you allow your subject’s nose to break across the facial outline, the nose appears larger and this is usually unflattering. Because my subject is looking off to the right of the image (as we’re looking at it), I’ve also left space in the frame on that side. This is called nose room.

Thirdly, you can see by the slight shadow on the ground that Phill is under what shade was available beneath the largely leafless trees at the time of this shoot. By positioning your subject in the shade, you can push the exposure up slightly. This allows for your subject being in a darker patch and helps to ‘lift’ the rest of the image.

Camera Settings

  • Focal length: 140mm
  • Aperture: f/4
  • Shutter speed: 1/320 sec
  • ISO: 800