Last year, as traveling abroad suddenly became out of the question, the opportunity arose for us to rediscover our own backyard… literally and figuratively!
In my case, after (re)discovering some of Belgium’s most beautiful gems, I took advantage of nature’s amazing summer blooms and fall foliage to plan two outdoor picnic photoshoots, which didn’t fail to make my inner child happy. I mean… who doesn’t dream of owning their own wicker picnic basket? 😉
In this blog post, I share the result of these two picnic photoshoots as well as a few useful tips that will – hopefully – inspire you to recreate your own picture-perfect picnic at home.
The secrets to a picture-perfect picnic photoshoot
In a nutshell, the perfect picnic photoshoot comes down to a bit of planning and the right dose of creativity:
- Get a few props
- Pick a nice color palette
- Look for the perfect background
- Shoot at the right time
- Edit your pictures
Ready for more concrete tips and outdoor picnic photoshoot ideas?
1. Select a few props to create a nice atmosphere
Here are some of the best photo props to achieve a vintage aesthetic vibe:
- Vintage picnic baskets: you will find endless options on Amazon for all budgets and styles. I’m not Amazon’s biggest fan AT ALL, but I have to admit that I’m pretty happy with mine and found it to be good value for money. In case this one is unavailable, here are other similar options.
- A cute picnic blanket: plain or gingham? It comes down to your personal preference and to the atmosphere you want to create. I went for a basic cream color which I could easily reuse for other occasions.
- Flowers, hats, bags, wooden trays, vintage cameras, old books, it’s time to get creative! If you’re curious about the camera, I found it on Facebook Marketplace which is literally flooded with similar models. This one is a Yashica.
- Food: this one is a no-brainer, right? This brings me to my next point. Keep scrolling!
2. Choose your color palette
It’s all in the details! In other words, every prop counts. If you pay attention to the two pictures above, the end result would have been quite different if I had chosen bright green apples instead of red/yellow ones. This is just an example, but it shows that it’s the little things that help bring the picture together and create an aesthetically pleasing result.
The same goes for your outfit, which also counts as a prop in a way. For the summer picnic pictures, I had planned a pastel color palette made of pink, purple and cream shades, hence the light pink dress. As for the autumn picnic photos, I went for a richer and warmer palette with brown, orange and red hues. Nothing spectacular about my outfits here, but it was important that they blend in the overall scene.
How to define your color palette?
Here’s a cool tool that’ll help you generate the color palette of any picture: Adobe Color
For example, you can use this tool beforehand to generate the color palette of your inspiration pictures/mood board. This will help you select the right props and create a cohesive color palette for your picnic photoshoot.
3. Avoid harsh light
When I started practicing photography, I learnt the hard way that shooting on a bright sunny day is rarely a good idea! The light was so harsh on that summer afternoon that it was basically impossible to come up with any good pictures.
So what did I do? I simply waited for the sun to come down. There’s a reason why the famous Golden hour is so popular!
The perfect light? Golden vs Blue hour
- Golden hour: the golden hour is the time of day right before sunrise or after sunset when the light takes on golden shades as its name indicates.
- Blue hour: the blue hour generally lasts 20-30 minutes after sunset. During this short amount of time, the light takes on a bluish hues. This is a good idea if you’re going for a cold color palette.
How to choose the best time for a photoshoot?
If you type “Magic hour”, “Blue hour” or “Golden hour” into the App Store or Google Play Store, you will find a ton of free apps that’ll help you plan your outdoor picnic photoshoot at the right time. Of course, the end result is hard to predict and it’s always better with a little help from mother nature 😉
4. Don’t underestimate your surroundings
Ok, that would be silly of me to act like everybody has a massive purple rhododendron tree (god, what a nightmare to spell) in the middle of their garden.
But if you look at the fall pictures, I can guarantee that this majestic orange tree looks pretty ordinary during the rest of the year. It’s only when I started looking for the perfect autumn picnic spot in October/November that I noticed that its otherwise brownish leaves turned into this beautiful shade of warm orange.
This is what I mean when I say “Don’t underestimate your surroundings”. If you don’t have your own garden, make sure to check out nearby parks. And if you live in Brussels, I wrote a whole post about the best autumn photo spots and parks in Brussels: The 5 Best Brussels Parks and Photo Spots in Autumn
5. It’s all in your editing style
Happy with your picnic photoshoot? Then it’s time to bring your own final touch. If you’re not familiar with Lightroom (mobile) yet, I can only encourage you to learn about the basics. I can guarantee that Lightroom will totally transform your pictures and help you find your personal editing style. You will find more about this topic here: How to Take Better Travel Photos With an iPhone?
In the meantime, I’d like to share a very cool app that I used to edit some of my autumn picnic pictures: Lens Distortion. I used it to add a beautiful ray of light in the top right corner of the picture below, which was not there in the original. Here’s the before & after:
There is a paid version, but I limited myself to its free features. This app offers many overlays (snow, rain, rays, fog, etc.) to help you enhance your pictures. My favorite thing about Lens Distorsion’s effects is that they usually look quite natural.
You’ve reached the end of this post! I hope that you’ve found enjoyed these picnic photoshoot ideas. If you did, it would mean a lot to me if you could pin this article to one of your Pinterest boards.
And if you’d like to connect, you can also find me on Instagram @rosesandpostcards
Your DM’s always make my day 🙂
See you soon!