It’s not uncommon for domestic portrait photographer to head outside on a nice day and photograph their model. As a photographer I find that the studio can make people a bit nervous. The large lights and camera lens can make for a nervous experience. For shy people wanting their photograph taken, a studio isn’t always ideal.
Light is very important even in outdoor portrait photography. You must take your flash with you to fill in any shadows that appear. A reflector is a handy tool too. You can place the reflector under the persons face to shoot a very abstract shot, or, to simply get rid of shadows under the nose and chin.
Recently I did a portrait shoot outside. It was of a young lady who wanted photos for her portfolio. She was hoping to break into modelling. After some ideas back and forth it was decided that going to the park was an ideal way to do the shoot.
Lenses for portrait photography
Firstly, one of the most important features of successful outdoor portrait photography is the lens you use. Using the right aperture, focal length and depth of field are crucial factors to an outdoor portrait shoot.
A fast lens is the preferred lens by professional portrait photographers. What is a fast lens? A fast lens is a lens that has a very large maximum aperture. This may be anywhere between 1.8 and 2.8. This means that you can let a lot of light in and use a fast shutter.
Creative portrait photography ideas
You can develop a multitude of creative portrait photography ideas simply by practicing. Practicing gives you something so incredibly valuable: experience. Once you begin to gain more experience in outdoor portraits you will see how outdoor light and flash work, how shadows interact on peoples faces and most importantly how you can do it better next time.
Many of my most creative ideas come from receiving a formal education, but also, from watching the way light works. Light can give you some great ideas about where to position a person, how to angle yourself to get the best portraits.
Outdoor portrait photography poses
It depends on whether your model is male or female as to how you ask someone to pose for you. There are different stances that a man will take to appear more masculine. There are very different poses a woman will take so she looks more feminine. Female models look best when the lines of her body are accentuated. This involves turning on an angle, tilting the head and using the focus on the eyes. You can employ the use of a foot change to accentuate a postural change.
High key portrait photography
What does high key actually mean? Well if you go by the technical definition it is all about reducing the lighting ratio present in the scene. What this means, in English, is that the lighting is overexposed with just the main details in focus. This is great fun and a terrific way to create interesting portraits.
Can you use high key photography outdoors? Most definitely. As long as you have a strong light source on one side of the persons face, you can use the flash on the other side. Make sure you lock your focus on the eyes first so detail is maintained on the eyes.
Remember that shooting outdoor portrait photography is a great opportunity to have an interesting background. A park, beach or city street scene can enhance the story of your photo significantly. Here are some suggestions:
(Make sure you check that it’s ok to shoot in these places. Always check and get permission first.)
If you would like to get more photography info, you can get all my ebooks for free here. http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/tip/focus-1-g4hiebn/