Tips for Amazing Outdoor Portrait Photography Experience
Tips & Tutorials

Basic Things to Remember for an Amazing Outdoor Portrait Photography Experience

Outdoor portrait photography is a very unique kind of photography. This type of photography is carried out in the open areas unlike most of the photography that is usually done in the studios. It is an amazing way of capturing pictures in the open areas where the conditions and environment are very different from the studio environment and constantly changing with time. There are various places where outdoor portrait photography can be carried out. A few examples are parks, streets, beaches, countryside, etc.

Outdoor photography involves lots of challenges and difficulties for the photographers.  The photographers need to take some important factors quite seriously in the case of outdoor photography. These factors play a major role in deciding the quality of the pictures taken outdoors.

If you haven’t had a good experience with outdoor portrait photography, you don’t need to worry. Here are the important tips that will help you to get better in outdoor portrait photography.

Using these tips, you can improve your outdoor photography skills and capture some stunning pictures in the outside world anywhere at any time.

Keep a Proper Focal Length

This is a very important aspect of outdoor portrait photography that you need to remember all the time. The focal length is the distance between the camera and the point in focus. The focal length should not be less.

There should be at least a minimum of 70 mm distance maintained between the camera and the focus point. If the distance is less than 70 mm, then the pictures would lack the real appeal and look a bit distorted.

Therefore, by keeping the focal length to a proper distance, you will definitely be able to capture fantastic pictures.

Avoid shooting in excessive light

Fashion Photography by Thanh Tran 1
Photo by: Thanh Tran

Light conditions play a very important role, especially in outdoor portrait photography. This is because, in outdoor photography, the pictures will all be affected by light. You should avoid clicking pictures in direct sunlight.

With direct light of the sun, the picture quality will depreciate due to the presence of unwanted shadows and other effects. White balance conditions are also dependent on light. They change gradually with the passage of time during the day.

The images taken in direct sunlight don’t look good. Instead, you must shoot in the shade where there is an absence of direct light of the sun. In the shade, the other unwanted factors like shadows, etc. don’t come into play. The pictures will also have a natural appeal and appear more realistic to the viewer.

So, always avoid shooting in areas where there is direct sunlight.

Location matters a lot

The place where you take pictures outside also matters a lot. You must not choose a location just for the purpose of capturing images. Choose a location in the outside environment smartly keeping in mind the important constraints that have a long-lasting effect on the pictures.

White balance conditions, the presence of direct sunlight are examples of the factors that need to be considered before finalizing a location for your outdoor portrait photography. Always select a location that goes well with the subject of photography.

Vary your photography style with different locations

Your photography style is important especially in the context of outdoor portrait photography. You can choose different types of locations like parks, streets, beaches, countryside, and others. You must change your style cleverly so that the portraits look natural and amazing every time.

While shooting in wide-open areas such as parks, you must make sure that the subject of photography is on the ground. You can then change your style accordingly.

Outdoor portrait photography low angle
Photo by: Michael LaPointe

You can bend your knees as this will help you to click fine pictures from a much lower perspective. You can also opt for shooting towards the sun to bring the attractive feature of sunlight into your portrait. Similarly, you can change your style while shooting in the streets or beaches and use the factors available like lighting to a good effect.

Likewise, you can vary your style for other outdoor places. On the whole, variation in style will make you better in the field of outdoor portrait photography.

Avoid making a lot of changes

Changes are good for outdoor portrait photography but doing too much of changes will ruin your picture completely. You must keep things simple all the time. Use the surrounding conditions to a good effect on your images.

You can use the background situations like walls, textures, design patterns, and other conditions present to capture fine images. Therefore, as an outdoor photographer, you must avoid making a lot of changes.

Use the Wide Angles to get the best view

Outdoor portrait photography wide angle
Photo by: Luis Valadares

Another very important tip for outdoor photography is to use the camera angles effectively. Before you actually start clicking pictures on an outdoor area, you must use the wide angles of the camera. Use the different angles of the camera and choose the angle that gives you a clear distinct view of the subject. This will assist you to take better photographs next time.

So, always remember to use the camera angles cleverly to get the best possible view.

Also See: Capturing People Portraits from Different Angles

Benefit from wide aperture values

Aperture values have a defining role to play in photography. The pictures in outdoor portrait photography must be taken using wide aperture values. Using wide aperture values, you will be able to capture fabulous moments through your camera.

The skin and the body parts in the portrait will then look much more realistic than before. You can clearly see the difference in the quality of images that are taken with wide aperture value.

Stay updated of weather conditions

Weather is an important factor to be kept in mind in the case of outdoor portrait photography. Weather conditions change quickly over time and the changing conditions might influence your photography. Stay alert and updated on the weather so that you can plan accordingly for taking pictures outside. You can then decide on whether you need both the reflectors and diffusers or not.

Gray Cards are important

Gray Cards are frequently used in the field of photography. They are used to adjust the white balance settings. You can use the gray cards in cases where the white balance conditions are not good enough for taking photographs in the outdoor areas. You can adjust the white balance conditions to an optimum level for clicking pictures in outdoor areas like streets, parks, etc.

This will make the photograph look much clearer and sharper. Therefore, you must make use of gray cards for adjusting the white balance conditions which are a crucial factor in any form of photography.

Single Focus for Portraits

Selecting a single focus point is very essential for the case of outdoor portrait photography. This will give you good control and assist you in taking good images with your digital camera. Using multiple focus points actually makes the image appear distorted to an extent and reduces its quality. Therefore, you must always make it a point to use a single focus point for outdoor portrait photography.

Reflectors must be used

Outdoor portrait photography reflectors
Photo by: Hasselblad Bron.

Reflectors must be used for taking photographs in the outdoor environment. Reflectors are very crucial as they help to make the light effect in the images much more appealing. Using this tool, you can create a nice lighting effect around the subject of your photograph. You can bounce the light on the subject as per your requirements.

Also See: Using Photography Reflectors in Portrait Photography

Creative Positioning of the Subject

The position of the subject is extremely important for outdoor portrait photography. The subject’s position must be chosen appropriately so that the subject is clearly visible in the portrait. You can try to be more creative in your approach to positioning the subject to a particular location.

For this, you can include the background composition of the surroundings like designs and patterns in your photographs. Therefore, the subject of photography must be positioned creatively as it is needed to click stunning photos.

Extra Power with Studio Flash

In some cases in outdoor portrait photography, it is found that there is a need for extra power lighting. In such types of circumstances, you can use the studio flash. Studio flash is a quality tool for photographers. Most of the photographers prefer it over flashguns as it is easy to use and helps to shape the light in a similar manner as in the studio.

These are definitely more expensive than flashguns but are of great importance in outdoor photography.

Lighting: An important factor

A good outdoor photographer uses the light to good effect in the photographs. You can use the daylight smartly and click fabulous images on the go. In situations where you feel that the daylight isn’t working well with the subject of the photograph, you don’t have to worry. There is another option available. Artificial lighting can be used and it would be of great help.

With artificial lighting, you can control the light effects in the manner you want. You can focus the light around the subject and take amazing high-quality photographs outdoors.

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