Top 3 tips for an outdoor portrait shoot

Last week I had the privilege to photograph three gorgeous sisters in the park. There was lots of learning for me from that shoot, but the top three tips (for myself, if not anyone else) are the following:


Discuss clothes for the shoot, for it to match the environment and/or background where you will shoot. I was lucky last week as the sisters had gone out of their way to colour coordinate their wardrobe AND I accidentally had chosen a park that has lots of walls with (similar coloured) graffiti. Furthermore, they had brought along colourful lanterns which added a lovely touch to some of the photos.

One change I will suggest is for the models to wear only uni coloured clothing. This will allow for the clothes to distract less from the face of the subject.

Three Sisters - Graffiti Wall


Be careful of your lighting for your shoot. Either choose the right time of the day (early morning or close to the sun setting) or a location that provides lots of indirect light. Also, it can be beneficial to bring a flash for off camera use with an umbrella, a reflector or diffuser to manipulate the lighting for your setting.

The picture below was taken with the sun to the models’ left in direct sunlight. This casts a harsh shadow on the models’ faces and would have looked a lot nicer, if the sun light had been lessened – either by moving the subjects into the shade or using a diffuser to lessen the harshness of the sunlight.

Harsh light

Try to avoid harsh sunlight


Don’t be afraid to try different things. My personal favourite photo from this shoot is one, when I took a different angle and went down to the same low level of the sisters lying in the grass. Also experimenting with cropping subjects or taking a closeup of hands clasped together etc. will be a nice touch. There is much more to be said about composition, but my tip here is to practice, experiment and stay creative – there are lots of amazing shots awaiting this way!

Try different or unusual compositions too

Try different or unusual compositions too

What are your top tips for a portrait shoot?



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