Home » Blog » Outdoor Portrait Essentials

Outdoor Portrait Essentials

Shooting portraits outdoors can be a beautiful experience, from the stunning natural lighting to the inspiring environment giving you great details that make your subject pop. We can get you ready for the big day with some essential tips to keep you focused and ready for whatever mother nature and your model has in store.

It all starts with having perfect lighting and the right background framing your subjects. If you could pick an ideal day, you usually will want to find a hazy day or one with some cloud coverage. Embarking on a photo shoot when it is a bright, sunny day, while it seems ideal, can wash out your subject and make them hard to photograph if they can’t see. It also can splay odd shadows across their face that can lead the eyes away from your intended focus point. You can use your flash in instances like these, but have a diffuser, too, so it isn’t so intense.
Being in a setting that has scenery, but isn’t overwhelming is also the ideal place to be so your subject can really stand out. You can experiment with how high or low your camera height is which will also provide some subtle changes to the background if you aren’t in love with it from the level you originally were standing at.

After you have chosen your ideal space for the photoshoot, you can focus on getting your image just right. Some of the most difficult parts of this can be trying to pose your subject, and in particular, their hands. They have the propensity to look both elegant or strange depending on the angle they are at. Keeping the outsides of the hands away from the camera, and laying them sideways if possible can make a big difference in their appearance on camera. Hands that are too far forward in the shot can outshine your subject so having them alongside at the same depth of the person can keep them out of the spotlight.

Truly collaborating with your subject is also so important in getting a great image to come through. This can come across in several different ways, for example, by checking each of your images for things out of place such as stray hairs. Fly-away hairs or strands in their face can be difficult for even skilled Photoshop artists to naturally blend away or eliminate entirely. You can do yourself and your model a favor by simply asking them to fix their hair and to shoot again.
Another thing you can do for your model is to only crop their photos between their joints. You never want to cut off limbs when you focus in on the subject, and cutting images right on the joints will do just that. Going between the hips and knees, or the elbows and shoulders with plenty of space between will make it flow more naturally without looking awkward. With all of these tips, you should be ready to take your best outdoor portrait yet.