Outdoor photography

Outdoor photography can be done for any genre of photography, however, wildlife and landscape photography is always outdoors. This photography is associated with available light photography, but available light photography can be done indoors. So any photography, done outdoors, with or without artificial lights can be considered in this category.



We can get very natural and pleasing results in an outdoor shoot, of people and portraits, as they feel relaxed by coming out of a studio atmosphere. What we need is a good reflector to fill in shadows and a big white umbrella to block the direct sun.

Outdoor photography is a fun. We are free from setting different studio lights and shoot the subject without much equipment. Apart from people, we can shoot any subject in outdoors - food, products or even still life. What we need is to understand how light at different angles is going to act on the subject.

The sun is the main source of light in outdoor photography session. Direct sun is considered as a point source of light and will produce hard lighting effect with sharp and dense shadows. Overcast day is preferable for soft and even light. However, it will depend on the subject we are shooting in outdoors. Outdoor architectural photography may require direct sunlight, especially for a building, which is having that kind of texture, that has to be recorded.

Whatever subject we shoot in a studio with controlled lighting gives totally different look in outdoors. This is the reason why even commercial shoot with models are done on a location. Natural light with natural background will enhance the subject and the product. Example is photography of a car. This product can be shot in a studio but as the product is for outdoor use, a car on road or even off road will give much more realistic appeal. Same thing for a model in a swim wear. She can be shot in a studio but on a beach, she will look more natural in her bikini.

A car on location should be shot at dawn or dusk, when the sun is just at the horizon. At this time, the light is soft and the subject is illuminated with the sky light. Reflection in the product of the horizon will create point of interest, especially if the car is dark or black in color. We must use a tripod for this photography.

Professional model shoot on an outdoor location may require a powerful studio flash light with a soft box or a large translucent sheet in front of it to soften the light. Read more about how to shoot a model in daylight with flash here.

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