Master the basics of outdoor portrait photography
Before you delve into more advanced outdoor portrait photography techniques, you need to master the basics. Here’s how to get started…
One of the great things about outdoor portrait photography is that you can shoot almost anywhere, from your back garden to a glorious tropical beach. But it’s important to know how to get the most out of any location you choose.
There are few hard and fast rules when it comes to working a location. If the location adds to your portrait, you can include the background, but if the location isn’t particularly photogenic, try using limited depth of field or tight framing to concentrate attention on your subject.
For the most striking portraits, it’s often best to keep things simple, so try to shoot against uncluttered backgrounds such as the sky, a wall or foliage. This will help your subject stand out.
However, like most rules, there are times when it’s best to break them – particularly when you’re shooting environmental portraits where you want to show the surroundings almost as much as the subject itself.
Composition and framing
Try to position either your subject’s face (on a half or full-length portrait) or eyes (on a head-and-shoulders or close-up shot) using the rule of thirds. This gives a much more balanced composition than if they are in the centre of the frame.
When shooting closer than full length, you’ll need to think carefully about framing. A good rule of thumb is to avoid cropping the portrait so that any joints such as knees or elbows come too close to the edges of the frame.
PAGE 1: Outdoor portrait photography overview
PAGE 2: Master the basics of outdoor portrait photography
PAGE 3: How to make the most of natural light
PAGE 4: Master depth of field in outdoor portraits
PAGE 5: The best lenses for outdoor portrait photography
PAGE 6: Using telephoto lenses for outdoor portraits
PAGE 7: Using wideangle lenses for outdoor portraits
PAGE 8: Essential flash techniques for outdoor portrait photography
PAGE 9: How to set up and use your flash outside
PAGE 10: Easy flash techniques and ways to fire your flashgun