Tips on Taking Outdoor Portraits

Not many of us have a nice big studio with a dozens lights to take portraits with. This is why many photographers choose to shoot portraits outdoors. The sun is an excellent lighting tool, but just like any light, you have to learn how to work it. Photographer Tony Northrup has a few tips to share when it comes to outdoor portraiture that could improve your photos:

Here’s a summary of Tony’s Do and Don’ts.


  • Don’t place your subject looking towards the sun. This will cause her to squint.
  • Don’t shoot you subject in place with a mixture of light and shadow. This will create an uneven pattern of light on her face.


  • Use fill flash. This will fill in some of the shadows and create a catch light in your subject’s eyes.
  • Place your subject’s back towards the sun. This will create a nice rim light on her hair and shoulders.
  • Shoot in the shade. This will provide a very diffuse and even lighting.
fill flash outside

Having the sun to your subject’s back creates a nice rim lighting.

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

3 responses to “Tips on Taking Outdoor Portraits”

  1. Cedric says:

    Don’t forget your lenshood when you shoot in sunny conditions

  2. Nice helpful article.Outdoor photo shoot is always a challenging but a good experience.

  3. Debbie says:

    What power are you using in the sun and shade?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever