If you’re venturing outside to take portraits, you’ll need to ensure that you can find great natural lighting.
While natural light is a great tool, it can be difficult to work with. Sometimes, it just doesn’t cooperate. It can leave your portraits with harsh and unflattering shadows.
To help you make the best portraits possible, here are 5 tips to help you take better portraits by finding & harnessing the best natural light.
5 Tips for Taking Better Portraits
1. Take Photos During Golden Hour
You’ve likely heard of the Golden Hour before if you’ve been taking pictures for any length of time. Many people don’t take advantage of the Golden Hour since it doesn’t always fit their schedules. Golden Hour happens twice a day, right after sunrise and before sunset. During this time, the sunlight is warmer, and since it’s lower in the sky, it doesn’t leave harsh shadows on your subject’s face.
2. Take Photos During Blue Hour
Blue Hour gets its name from the dark blue hue in the sky that occurs soon after sunset and before sunrise. Due to the blue lighting, your portraits will have a beautiful blue hue, giving them a unique look. If you’re looking for something to spice up your portraits, try playing around with Blue Hour.
3. Use Natural Reflectors
Sometimes natural light doesn’t hit your subject in the ideal spot. To help, you can use reflectors to help eliminate shadows. You can purchase a light reflector (this one duos as a diffuser) and bring them with you, but you need someone to hold it, which isn’t always an option. When you need to reflect light in a pinch, try to find white pavement or walls. Anything white will reflect natural light beautifully. Just make sure your subject is positioned properly.
4. Take Photos in Overcast Lighting
Overcast lighting is perfect for portraits. The clouds filter the sunlight, causing it to be much softer. Because the light is softer, it doesn’t create shadows on your subject. Make sure you’re checking the weather so you don’t get caught in the rain.
5. The Location You Choose is Gold
In most cases, the more interesting the location, the better the photo. Scoping out locations beforehand is always helpful because then you will know when the light will be the best for certain shots you want. Scoping out your location beforehand will also allow you to plan your session time accurately.
BONUS PRO TIP
Love your lens! Personally, I shoot 99% of the time with prime lenses. I love the sharpness and aperture range of a prime lens.
My favorite prime lenses:
You can read my full photography gear list HERE. You can see more of my portrait photography work over at Studio 29 Photography. When I am not at home taking care of my houseplants or vacuuming up doggy fur, you can find me at my photography studio or on-location taking photos of my amazing clients!