Photo Beginners

Amazing outdoor portrait photography tips for beginners

Essential outdoor portrait photography tips for beginners
Essential outdoor portrait photography tips for beginners

We show you simple outdoor portrait photography tips for beginners and without expensive equipment. For many amateur photographers, portrait photography is a bit like magic. Out of respect for art, they don’t even dare to tackle the subject.


Outdoor photography is actually not an “official” part of photography, rather it describes the possibility of simply taking great photos on the go – wherever you are, on your travels, during your leisure activities and outside in the open air.

The special challenge is certainly to put together photo equipment for you that meets your individual requirements for outdoor photography. If, for example, you walk a lot to take photos, go hiking or climbing, you should of course pay particular attention to the weight, size and a certain flexibility of your photo equipment.

Outdoor natural light photography tips.

  • Block Light From Above: Try to avoid overhead light. Look for roofs, overhangs, balconies, or doorways that block light from above. Alternatively, you can simply wait until the sun is lower.
  • Seek shade: The second rule follows directly: If you want to avoid hard, pronounced shadows, you have to avoid direct sun. Find a shaded area out of direct sun. Again, a roof is good, but a house wall or a tree are also possible. Place the model in the shade (on the wall for example) in such a way that the face has an interesting and beneficial shading that makes the face appear plastic.
  • Naturally lighten: Always keep an eye on the model’s face. In backlighting, look for a natural brightening from the other side. This can be the reflection of the sun off the ground, off a ship’s deck, an opposite facade and much more. Pay attention to bright eye sockets and an interesting eye reflex, a “catchlight”.

Best outdoor portrait photography equipment for beginners.

1.Best camera for outdoor portrait photography.

Our favorite is the Sony Alpha 6400 – it is currently an inexpensive model and still offers everything important. Invest the money you save on this rather cheap discontinued model in good, small lenses – e.g. a 35 or 50mm fixed focal length or an optional tele-zoom.

2. Best lens for outdoor portrait photography.

You can go with a wide-angle 24mm lens or with a 200mm telephoto lens. My recommendation for natural outdoor portraits is the focal length range from 35mm to 85mm.

Settings tips for outdoor portrait photography for beginners

You can of course set your camera to portrait mode at any time. To do this, simply turn the mode wheel to the symbol with the head. If you would rather make all the settings yourself, go to manual mode and turn the dial to M for the settings. We recommend the following settings for portrait photography:

  • Aperture: The magic word here is “open aperture”. The aperture should be very wide open. Basically, the smaller the number, the wider the aperture is open and the more blur you get in the background. This is referred to as “bokeh”.
  • ISO value: If you are shooting outdoors, ISO 100 or 200 is a good guideline. ISO 400 is recommended indoors. Going higher can cause noise and grainy images.
  • Exposure time: Adjust this to the light conditions. A slight underexposure is not bad, it can easily be compensated for in post-processing. If you overexpose, you lose image information that cannot be retrieved in post-processing on the computer.
  • Shoot in RAW format. The biggest benefit of shooting in RAW format is that you don’t lose any valuable image data

Outdoor portrait photography ideas for beginners.

  • Move parties and celebrations outside.Instead of the banquet in the restaurant, everyone meets outside for a cozy picnic – and a rather stiff anniversary celebration becomes a cozy, relaxed get-together. And that, in turn, can be beautifully accompanied by photographs!
  • No occasion is also a good reason! Do you always need a reason for a nice outdoor shoot? Admittedly, it makes my work as a portrait photographer easier when I can steer towards a specific goal. But of course clear reasons or targets are not necessary. Just as good is the desire to “just take nice pictures outside!”. If you have a more structured everyday life and don’t make spontaneous decisions, you can simply ask me about an outdoor shoot. After all, it’s my job to get the best picture ideas out of you.
  • Any weather is good shooting weather.

Outdoor portrait photography ideas for beginners.

  • Photograph people like a pro. Every person is individual. We’re not telling you anything new. Show that in your portraits. In portrait photography you have the opportunity to depict a character. A person, a moment, an attitude towards life, a piece of truth! And that’s exactly what professionals show. How is that supposed to work? Think about ideas for your photo beforehand. Do you want to take a fun photo or rather a classic and natural portrait. What goes best with the person you want to photograph? What makes her special? For example, do you like playing football? Then portray her in a jersey with the ball under her arm. And you already have a cool pose. Or is your model a real bookworm? Then put it on a stack of books. Are you still unsure about the technology? We’ll show you.
  • Portrait photography is a matter of timing. It is best to choose midday or late afternoon as the time, so you get a softer light. Make sure the lighting is even – make sure that no areas are in shadow or appear “stained” by shadows from branches, for example.
  • It all comes down to perspective. The person portrayed should take up enough space in your photo so that you do not crop body parts such as the head, arms or legs. In addition, they should not sink or be covered by other elements. The perspective is very important! Place yourself at hip height of your models. Crouch down or stand on a small platform. Do not take photos from a bird’s or worm’s eye view, this will deform the motifs.
  • In all its glory. When taking a full body shot, make sure that all parts of the body are clearly visible and are not covered or cut into. Objects that are supposed to be included in the photo (ideas here would be a soccer ball, a chair or a bicycle) should not be cut. Feet in particular can quickly sink into uneven surfaces such as sand or meadows and are therefore no longer fully recognizable. To prevent this, it is best to photograph your subject on a solid surface or place it on a kind of pedestal, such as a bench.
  • Check YouTube:

Best outdoor portrait photography poses for beginners.

First things first: avoid symmetry.

The image should look as natural and flexible as possible – which is actually the opposite of symmetry. Symmetry can be a beautiful stylistic device, but unintentionally it can quickly become static and awkward.

Most of the time it occurs accidentally because our entire body has a symmetrical structure: our two halves of the face, both arms and legs are usually almost symmetrical. Therefore, you should now gradually break this symmetry. This will also be reflected in the following tips throughout the article.

In principle, it is very simple: Instruct your model to turn away from the symmetrical basic position. This works best if you let the model twist a bit.

Twisting is no longer only used for slightly stronger people to make them look slimmer. But also very effective with thinner models to appear more dynamic in general: slightly twist the person’s body. Angles of approx. 30° – 45° are good. Depending on the chocolate side, the head remains turned straight into the camera.

Don’t let your hands hang down.

As just indicated, the arms and hands must be removed from the basic symmetrical position. You should therefore avoid simply letting your hands hang limp. That’s the first thing I pay attention to. The model often looks a bit like it was ordered and not picked up with its arms hanging down. The picture looks more like a snapshot, the model looks uncertain.

Allow hands and model to interact with the environment.

A good trick to keep your hands busy is to just let them interact with the scenery. As in this example, it can be easy to touch e.g. trees, plants, flowers etc. and thus ensure a moving pose.

Create tension in your legs.

Now you have twisted your body and let your arms move. The only thing missing is a critical look at the legs and feet. Due to the symmetry, these also appear clumsy at first, which often makes the entire stand look a bit clumsy.

Ensure asymmetry here as well, which automatically creates tension and elegance. A good tip here is also to instruct them to shift their weight to one leg (instead of both evenly). This allows each leg to be in a slightly different position, which looks looser.

The shoulder look.

Looking over the shoulder is not only taught in driving schools. I also use this trick regularly when posing for photos. First, have your model stand with their whole body turned away from you. Then instruct them to look at the camera over the shoulder of each chocolate side.


How do you prepare for an outdoor photoshoot?

  • Face (wash and use your usual day cream/moisturizer)
  • Wash your hair the night before and blow dry it so that it has a good grip on the day of the photo shoot.
  • Prepare a comfortable outfit without pressure points for the journey and styling in the make-up room.

What is the best shutter speed for outdoor portraits?

That depends on how well lit your subject or scene is. Outside when the sun is shining you will need a fast shutter speed, e.g. 1/500 second. There is usually less light indoors, so a slightly longer exposure time is used, around 1/100 second.

How do beginners take portraits?

If you are out and about taking photos, then you should always take several pictures of a subject, especially if you are a beginner – professionals usually do that too, but this point is particularly important for beginners.

Check also How to get easy into photography for beginners.