Video: 5 simple ways to improve your outdoor portraits


posted Friday, June 24, 2022 at 11:59 AM EDT


Is there a better way to enjoy lovely summer weather than to get outside and capture some outdoor portraits? Over at SLR Lounge, photographer Pye Jirsa recently showed off five simple portrait ideas that you can try out in a local park or any nice outdoor area.

The first tip to try is to backlight your subject. If you place your portrait subject underneath "the dabbled sunlight created by the trees above," you can capture much more pleasing portraits than if your subject is in direct sunlight without any cover above.

What if there's too much shade or your background is too bright relative to your subject? That's where the second tip comes in. A pop-up reflector is a great way to bounce beautiful natural light onto your subject when shooting outdoors. There are many great reflectors, but if you're in a bind, taping or gluing aluminum foil to some foam board will do the trick. Check out this guide from Digital Camera World to make your own reflector. 

The third tip focuses on "open shade." What does that term mean? This is when one part of your scene is shaded, such as by thick trees or vegetation, and the other side of the frame is open to the sky. Jirsa writes, "This essentially creates a giant soft directional light source." You don't need artificial lights and a sophisticated setup to capture images with soft, directional light. Your local park likely offers plenty of nice areas with controlled light. A great way to bring more attention to your subject and make them pop in a scene is to search the area for an especially bright spot. You can then place your subject in that location so that the rest of the scene sort of falls off and frames your portrait subject.

To check out the other tips, watch the full video above. For more tutorials, head over to SLR Lounge and visit their YouTube channel.

(Via SLR Lounge