Steps to portrait success

Do your research

Make sure that you spend a bit of time working out where you want to shoot and planning how you might take best advantage of those locations.

Consider the time

Pay attention to the time of day and day of the week that you have chosen for your shoot. This could dramatically affect how many other people there are around.



Get permission

Don’t venture into a non-public location without permission. However unlikely it seems, you and your model might end up in serious trouble if you do.

Think about clothing

Discuss clothing options with your model and ensure that they have different styles available. The clothes the model wears need to fit in with each location.

Buy a 50mm lens

A 50mm prime lens with an aperture of f1.4 or f1.8 is very useful to have when you are shooting outdoor portraits.



Separate the model

Think of ways to make your model distinct from their surroundings. There are a many different ways of doing this, including movement, exposure and colour.

Decide on props

Some props might work well for outdoor portraits just as they do for studio shots. As with the clothing, ensure that they match the setting.

Go wide

A wide-angle lens can be used sometimes to create a dramatic image in which the model is captured within the wider context of their surroundings.

Defocus backgrounds

Use the different colours around as an effective backdrop for your portraits. Use a wide aperture to ensure these are softened, reducing any distractions.

Look for texture

Keep an eye out for textures such as brick, concrete or metal. These will make for interesting backgrounds and settings for your outdoor shots.