7 Simple Tips For Shooting Portraits Outdoors

Photo by Sergey Sokolov

1. Choose the right location.

Look for locations with interesting textures, geometric shapes, or layers. And make sure to find a location with a meaning to the portrait subject.

2. Experiment with pose and composition.

Shoot from different angles and perspectives. Get creative with color. And don’t be afraid to fill the frame.

3. Use a fast lens for a shallow depth of field.

A lens with a focal length of 85mm and a smaller f-number will help you achieve the desired depth of field and bokeh effect that will separate your subject from the background.

4. Use softer light.

Hard light can introduce unflattering shadows and make unwanted textures stand out. Soft light is much more forgiving and is perfect for portraits.
  • Shoot portraits in the early morning or late evening when the sun is lower in the sky and produces a softer light.
  • Look for areas that are shaded from the sun. This will create natural soft light.
  • Use a reflector to redirect sunlight onto your subject, creating a soft and diffused light.

5. Play with props.

People often have a hard time positioning their hands when posing for portraits. To get those awkward hands out of the way, accessorize them with props like umbrellas, bags, or books.

6. Connect with your subjects.

When you take the time to connect with your subject, it shows in the photograph. The connection will help you capture their personality and emotions, resulting in a more powerful portrait.

Some tips for genuinely connecting with your subject include:

  • Taking the time to talk to them and get to know them.

  • Finding out what they're interested in.

  • Asking them about their family, friends or pets.

7. Forget about all those rules!

Sometimes it’s fun to break the rules of photography and see what happens!

Portrait photography is all about capturing the personality of the subject. It can be a great way to capture a moment in time or tell a story. By following these seven tips, you’ll be able to take better portraits that capture your subjects’ personalities and emotions. So get out there and start shooting!


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