Shooting outdoor portraits can seem a little daunting at first. It's not like shooting in a studio where you can control everything from lighting to background. Outdoor portrait photography is a toss up of sorts. You never know if the weather will suddenly change and the light you had from the sun disappears into the clouds, but once you get your footing per say it's one of the best forms of photography to shoot. I thought I'd share some tips and tricks I have picked up over the years shooting outdoor portraits!
1. Lighting is your number one priority when shooting outdoors. It can make or break how your model or client's face look in the photos. Shooting in the afternoon is one of the worst times to try and photograph portraits outdoors because of the harsh shadows that will be created on the face of who you're photographing. Try shooting in the morning or near sunset, the light will be much softer and there will be less of a chance of any shadows falling upon the face of your model. If you can't avoid shooting in the afternoon than try to find a shady spot to photograph in, the light will be softer here and no shadows from the sun. Below is an image I took when I had to shoot midday, but found some nice shade under a tree to shoot in.
2. Be creative when you use your enviorment as props or backgrounds in your photos. Taking a portrait in front of a field or forest can be pretty, but everyone does that (myself included.) Try to really look for a way to make your portrait stand out. If you see a cool plant or some awesome flowers work those into your portrait. Maybe there's some weird rock formations around where you are shooting that would make a unique backdrop for your photo! Be creative and always look at your enviorment from every angle. Here are some I've shot where I used different bushes and a fence as really cool props and backgrounds to give my portraits a little something extra.
3. Lastly, I'd like to cover weather. Different kinds of weather can really affect how your photos will turn out. Bright sunshiney days might seem to be the best time to shoot in, but I've found that overcast days are the best times to shoot. As discussed earlier a lot of sun can cause shadows to fall on your subject's face, but with an overcadt day the light will be diffused and great for portraits. Another one of my favorite times to shoot is right after it rains. Colors are more vibrant and sometimes mist or fog will form which will make for a great moody backdrop to a portrait. If your camera isn't waterproof always remember to bring something to protect your camera if you are shooting in rain or a wet enviorment. I've used a tripod and an umbrella to shoot in the rain and used clear bags to put over my camera when I shoot in a misty enviorment so no moisture gets into the body of the camera.
Thanks for taking the time to checkout my article and any feedback would be awesome if this post was helpful at all!