How to Shoot Beautiful Outdoor Portraits


How to Shoot Beautiful Outdoor Portraits. As digital photography becomes more available and affordable, serious photography opportunities are opening to previously casual photographers. With the ability to view the results instantly, inexperienced photographers have immediate feedback and can hone and grow their skills quickly. One of the challenges facing new photographers is taking good outdoor portraits. With a bit of practice and know how, even a beginning photographer can take strikingly beautiful outdoor portraits.

  • Familiarize yourself with your camera's settings. Most digital cameras have a selection of settings including a portrait setting, usually indicated by a head, and a close-up setting, usually indicated by a flower. These are helpful in taking outdoor portraits. Also, since outdoor lighting is unpredictable, you should learn how to change your flash settings.

  • Pay attention to the background. Most indoor backgrounds are easily controlled and relatively consistent. Outdoor backgrounds are constantly changing and sometimes quite complex. While you focus on your subject, people or animals may wander into the background. You also want to make sure your background complements your subject, both in color and layout, and that there are no strange objects or lines coming out of your subject's head or body in the composition.

  • Work with the sun. Keep in mind that the lightest areas of the photograph are what the eye goes to most. You want to avoid too much sun or too much shadow, lighting your subject as evenly as possible. This may require working quickly, since the angle of sunlight is ever changing. If you see a good shot, take it. The most ideal weather for shooting outdoor portraits is a light overcast day. This gives you plenty of outdoor light to work with while diffusing it evenly and avoiding shadows. The best time for outdoor photography is right after sunrise and right before sunset.

  • Take advantage of your zoom. Distance gives a pleasing perspective for portraits, but it results is a large amount of extra background space. By backing up and using a zoom, you keep the focus on your subject while still getting that good portrait perspective.

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