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Thinking of planning a photoshoot with your loved ones? Get outside! Discover our top tips of how you can make the most of natural light to capture perfect outdoor portrait shots.

Photoshoot Tips

Outdoor Photoshoot Tips: Capture the Perfect Portrait

24th June 2021

Getting the perfect portrait photo can be easy to master if you know what factors to look out for – especially when it comes to your lighting. We are sure you’ll agree that the more natural your photo appears, the better it looks, which is why lighting should work to both flatter the subject and complement the whole surrounding scene. Head outdoors regardless of the season to make the most of the natural light from the sun for the ideal lighting for your portrait photoshoot. Plus, you can take your photoshoot to plenty of different outdoor locations to provide variety to your shots too. Discover our top tips on how to take portrait photos outdoors – perfect for turning into stunning photo gifts like Photo Phone Cases.

Your next family outing will be the perfect opportunity for an outdoor portrait photoshoot! Make use of your self-timer so everyone can get in the picture.

1. Use Your Smartphone

If you’re a professional photographer, look away now! Forget the large camera, multiple lenses, flashes, tripod and reflectors – you can still create beautiful portrait photos outdoors with family and friends with just your smartphone camera. Perfect for capturing candid shots in a relaxed, fun and enjoyable environment, taking photos with your phone camera is a great way to relieve the pressure and ensures they don’t feel too intimidated by a big lens in their face!

There are still a few important things to keep in mind when taking your outdoor portrait photos with your phone, especially if you are planning to turn your photos into a portrait photobook or Wall Art. To do this, make sure you consider the focal length as this will impact the proportions of your picture. For example, taking a photo with a short focal length too close to your subject can result in a larger-looking nose! Stand a little further away from the people in your shot, then use the crop tool later to resize your portrait if needed.

Top tip: If you have one of the latest smartphones, make use of the other camera modes like the wide-angle lens, in addition to the in-built Portrait mode that automatically blurs your background to focus purely on your subject.

Create a calm appearance and focus on their beautiful facial features with a blurred background – the perfect recipe for a stunning portrait.

2. Find the Perfect Place

When thinking of doing an outdoor portrait photoshoot, we’re sure a few suitable locations will pop into your mind almost immediately. The most obvious places are often popular destinations for daytrips or family outings, but they aren’t always necessary for your photoshoot. Choose lesser-known, quieter locations for a more peaceful photoshoot with minimum distractions. How about a small wooded area on the outskirts or in a flower meadow? Keep your eyes peeled for the perfect place when you’re next out and about!

Top tip: Your background doesn’t need to be particularly photogenic as you’ll only see a small section in your portrait, plus it often gets blurred anyway!

The warm light of the sun makes the background appear golden - and flatters the subject too!

3. Make Use of “Golden Hour”

The best time to take your outdoor portrait photos is during Golden Hour, elevating skin tones and the overall lighting with the gorgeous glow of the sun. Golden Hour begins about an hour before sunset and bathes your surroundings in a warm light, creating an instantly recognisable summer feeling. In order to make good use of this time, start your photoshoot half an hour earlier to capture images in all different levels of natural light as the sun goes down.

Top tip: Take into consideration the location of the sun at your chosen photoshoot destination. If you can visit the place you wish to take photos beforehand, it’s a great way to see what happens to the sunlight and spot things like whether the sun disappears behind trees or a mountain.

4. Picking the Right Outfit

Although the most spontaneous portrait photos can turn out great, sometimes it’s nice to plan your shots down to the last detail. Think about your clothing and accessories, and consider whether they are suitable for the location of your photoshoot. Keep in mind your colour scheme too, either wearing contrasting colours or tones that complement the scenery, in addition to whether you want to look smart or more casual. There’s plenty to think about, but it will result in beautiful outdoor portrait photos!

Top tip: If you’re unsure what outfit will work best, simply take a selection of clothes with you to the photoshoot. After all, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing!

Play with all the seasons! Here, the colours in the hat are perfectly complemented by the autumnal leaves.

5. Clouds are Welcome!

During summer, with longer days and lighter evenings, there is plenty of natural light to make use of for your outdoor photoshoot. But when it comes to photography, sometimes the sun can be too much! Depending on the position of the sun, hard shadows can appear in your photos which cause unwanted darkness, particularly on the face. However, this doesn't mean that you can only take good portrait photos in the morning and evening hours when the sun is lower – we simply recommend working around the bright, blazing sunshine.

Clouds are a welcome addition to your shot and will quickly change the lighting in ways you wouldn’t expect. A light cloud covering is ideal for your outdoor portrait photos as it helps to diffuse the light and create stunning images. Some of the best portrait shots have come from sitting in the shade under trees!

A shady place in the forest offers ideal conditions for portrait photos on very sunny days. Avoid really bright rays of sun as they will cause harsh shadowing in your photos.

6. Experiment With Other Settings

Our portrait photography tips not only work in nature, but also in any other outdoor setting. How about a photoshoot in front of historical architecture or a modern building? Perhaps you can make use of colourful graffiti, monochrome walls or unusual doors in your background too. If you’ve found the perfect location, remember to consider how your subject can still stand out. We recommend wearing an outfit that complements the setting and colours, such as neutral tones against a brightly coloured wall.

The bright colours of the background make this portrait eye-catching, without distracting too much from the subjects.

Get Your Cameras Ready!

Make the most of daylight hours to get outside and capture beautiful portrait photography outdoors. The natural light will work wonders for your subject, but remember to keep in mind our top tips to getting the perfect outdoor portrait. Share your favourite images you’ve captured with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest – we hope you feel inspired to get creative and have fun!