How to take outdoor portraits

  • Bright and sunny days offer good opportunities for taking portraits outdoors. But they can cause problems too. Bright sunlight can create harsh shadows. It can also make people screw up their eyes and squint, which look most unattractive. To get round this problem, try to move the person being photographed into an area of shade. Alternatively, turn them away from direct sunlight and use a reflector to throw light back into their face. If the person is wearing a hat and the brim is casting a shadow across their face, sue fill in flash to soften the shadow.
     

  • Another problem with portraits outdoors is that the wind blows people’s hair about and leaves it looking messy. If possible, look for an area sheltered from the wind.
     

  • Be on the lookout for appealing backgrounds. This could be something with an interesting texture, such as a stone wall, or it might be a view into a landscape. If the background is not photogenic, consider ways of cutting it out. This can be done by going in close and framing the picture tightly, or by using a large aperture to throw the background out of focus.
     

  • When photographing groups of people make sure that one does not cast an ugly shadow on another.

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