Outdoor Portraits are very tricky to shoot since there are a lot of variables we need to consider that we can’t control like the weather, the wind, and the direction of light. So here are few tips that will help you take better Outdoor Portraits.

Capture the mood

Portrait photography is all about capturing moods and expressions. Moods and expressions pertains to what do you want to convey and communicate in the picture. In taking these, you must be familiar with your camera and always be ready to take the shot, like the hair flips and swings for example. You can try to use the burst mode to take it and you can always pick the best out of them. but remember, don’t be agitated in using the burst mode or dont over click the shutter button for it will destroy your camera.

Look away from the camera

If the model is not comfortable with the camera yet, its best for the model to not look at the camera and look away from the lens instead. This will create less awkwardness in the mood or expression of the model since the model is not looking directly to the camera thus the model can show natural expressions. This tip can also create a focal point or it can direct the eyes of the one seing the picture to a certain direction. For example: A girl looking at a book will direct the eyes of the viewer on the book which makes the book a subject of the photo too and a girl looking a far might direct the eyes of the viewer on the same direction as the model, remember, directing the eyes of the viewer is very important in photography.

Light and Shadow

Light and Shadow are great tools to use in outdoor photography for it adds details and you can use it in focusing on your subject, but sometimes shadows can badly affect the picture specially when it covers the face of the subject that you can’t see it . Here are couple of tips if you want to incorporate shadows in your photos. Your subject must be positioned either in the light or in the shadow not between the two, but sometimes putting your subject in between may also give good results depends on how you take them.If the light is too bright and there is a strong contrast like during noon time, the subject must be placed in the shadows. Lastly, be creative in incorporating shadows in your picture , consider the shape and the location of your shadows.

Back lighting

Back lighting gives a sense of fantasy to your photo, it creates a magical effect to your photo and its my personal favorite. I really like to take photos using this technique. To take this kind of photo, here are the few things to do. First, cover the sun with your hands in the lens that will lead the camera to easily focus on the subject. Next thing is to half press the shutter button to get the desired focus, after that you need to find the right exposure by moving the camera in any desired direction. If you are using DSLR camera set the exposure value to -1 (ev-1) for you to have more details when you edit since DSLR cameras have more dark digital information. Lastly, edit using any photo editors to adjust the exposure that will give you a better and brighter details on your photo. It is best to take this kind of photos in the afternoon 1-2 hours before sunset.


If you want your photo to be appealing try putting something between you and your subject and make this as foreground to act as a frame. This is also a good way to direct the viewers attention to your subject. This creates a dramatic effect to your photo. Long lens are best to take this kind of shot because Long lens lets you make frames out of the foreground easily.


Background is one of the helpful tools to make your photo appealing to the eyes. Background maybe used to add more details to your photo, this can help you relay the story of your photo to the viewer.It also creates a sense of space that can add to the beauty of your photo. Furthermore, background can also be used to higlight your subject and helps to tell the mood of your photo.But keep in mind that backgrounds can make or break a photo so be careful in incorporating them.

The use of Props

An easy way to add drama to your photo is to use props. Everything can be used as props from the simple stones and leaves to balloons and umbrellas., the only limit is your creativity. Props are very helpful if you want to add spice to your photo, it can change a plain and boring photo to a captivating one in an instant. They also carry messages and meanings in them which you can use to convey stories.

Find the Light

Light is a vital factor in photography. In outdoor photography, finding the source of light will guide you to have better photos. It will help you direct viewers attention using this light since the eyes usually focuses on the light source and bright areas. My tip is to put your subject near the light source or infront of it , by doing this it makes your subject easily noticeable. Hence, this helps you emphasize your subject.

Find Inspiration

For me, the most powerful tip I can give is to find inspiration and practice! If you want your photos to be better, I suggest you look for inspiration by reading articles and also by looking at other photographers work. This can help you have more ideas about photography that you can apply. In addition to this, practice is also important because this will help you familiarize your camera and practice your skills and maybe come up with your own style in taking pictures.

Tips by Roy Yen

There are more to photography that I wasn’t able to mention, but I think this is the top 9 tips in my list that I want to share.

I am not good with English language so I would like to thank my friend Sherwynne Jhan Hanggoy Cadoy for helping me make this article. He helped me translate my idea to English.

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Posted by Roy Yen

Hey! I'm Roy Yen - ROY IMAGE, Taiwanese, photographer, I live in Taiwan. Photography is not just taking photos, Its a visual art. I give my best in all the things I do in life..

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