Summer portrait Ideas: how to use natural light for atmospheric people pictures

Summer portrait Ideas: how to use natural light for atmospheric people pictures

Summer is one of the most exciting times of the year to take pictures. One of our favourite summer portrait ideas is to head to the beach and make use of the sunshine to create atmospheric outdoor portrait photography.

Summer portrait Ideas: how to use natural light for atmospheric people pictures

In this quick guide we’ll show you step-by-step how to set up your camera and direct your subject to make the most of the natural light. We’ll then show you a few simple edits you can make on the computer to give you atmospheric summer portrait a professional finish!

Setting up your summer portrait: working with your model

Setting up your summer portrait: working with your model

Head to the beach
The beach is an ideal spot for a summer portrait shoot, but if you’re not close to the coast then consider other locations such as fields with long grasses or flowers, or even your back garden. Aim to shoot later on in the day, when the light is warm and soft.

It’s worth scouting the location in advance so that you know the best spots to head for; look for uncluttered backgrounds, and for interesting landmarks that will complement your subject but not distract from them.

 

Setting up your summer portrait: clothes and accessories

Clothes and accessories
Ask your model to bring along a few outfit changes so that you can get a variety of shots; bold-coloured clothing, such as a red dress, will look striking against a blue sky.

If there’s a breeze, you can also bring along a scarf, and get your model to drape it over her so that it moves with the wind. Wind does make it harder to use a reflector, so face your model into the sun but watch out for harsh shadows on the face.

 

Setting up your summer portrait: bounce light

Let there be light
Turn your model away from the sun, so her face is shaded and the sunlight creates a halo effect around the hair, then bounce the light back onto her face using a reflector.

Your model may find the reflected light a little bright, so get her to keep her eyes closed, then open them when you’re ready to take a shot. If possible, bring an assistant along to hold the reflector; it’ll make the shoot a lot easier.

PAGE 1: Setting up your summer portrait: working with your model
PAGE 2: Shooting your summer portrait: best camera settings and what you need
PAGE 3: How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: steps 1-3
PAGE 4: How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: steps 4-6
PAGE 5: How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: steps 7-9
PAGE 6: How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: steps 10-12

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