In pictures, portraits are an artwork type to themselves. There are various methods to make portraits, however one of many major divisions is between portraits made in a studio and on location portraits. The top outcomes look very completely different, so it’s good to decide on between them relying on what you’re going for.

Do you’ve a choice between them, both as a photographer and/or as a viewer?

Portrait in a greenhouse. location portraits

Studio pictures is lots of enjoyable, however after I’m engaged on a portrait job I often want to {photograph} on location. Why? Portraits taken in a favourite location – open air or at house – are an awesome alternative to actually convey out the topic’s character and to get pleasure from the great thing about pure gentle.

That’s why I believed I’d share what I’ve discovered about location portraits with you. I hope you benefit from the trip!

Sports portrait on location. location portraits

Sports portrait on location. location portraits

The benefits of stepping out of the studio

There are each professionals and cons to on-location portrait pictures. The primary variations between this sort of pictures and studio pictures are the sunshine and the setting.


In a studio setting, you’re in full management of the sunshine. On location, you very seemingly received’t be, however the benefit is that you just’ll have a a lot richer palette of sunshine and shade. So it’s a problem but in addition a possibility.

As an alternative of making the lighting setup, you may give attention to creating a really distinctive, pure portrait. One other distinction is that pure gentle feels much less synthetic, identical to a pure setting. Relying on what sort of ambiance you’re going for, this may be crucial.

Portrait of child outdoors. - location portraits

Portrait of child outdoors. - location portraits


Relying on the environment, a pure setting won’t create a portrait with that timeless really feel {that a} studio portrait typically has. Once more, that is neither good nor unhealthy – all of it is determined by what sort of feeling you’re going for.

Together with the setting in your portraits can add lots of character and assist convey out the topic’s character.

Wedding portrait in forest. location portraits

Wedding portrait in forest. location portraits

The setting will also be a distraction, each within the last {photograph} and in the course of the session. This is usually a boon or a burden whenever you’re taking images.

An excessive amount of happening may result in a chaotic picture or the topics wanting (or being!) distracted, however it will possibly additionally assist the topics loosen up and be themselves. All you’ve in a studio setting is the topic, the marginally intimidating lights, and the photographer; open air or at house, the setting may really feel much less oppressive.

Utilizing the Environment to Your Benefit

So that you’ve determined that you just’re going to do a portrait session on location. What are crucial issues to recollect, and how will you make the session memorable?

Wedding portrait in winter.

Wedding portrait in winter.

Put together!

You possibly can’t ever be in full management of a state of affairs, however getting ready is at all times well worth the effort. It’ll assist each you and your topic get probably the most out of the session and the ultimate product. It’ll additionally let your creativity circulation extra freely because you received’t have to fret about all the main points you’ll have handled beforehand.

A number of decisions have to be made earlier than you can begin making a portrait, and this may be executed days and even weeks beforehand. These are: the place, when, what, and what if.

First, you’ll have to search out and agree on a location that’s handy for you and works for the sort of portrait you and the consumer need. Until it’s your yard, it’s vital to familiarize your self with the place earlier than the session.

Wedding portrait with greenery. location portraits

Wedding portrait with greenery. location portraits

The time for the shoot is at the least as vital as the placement. Each season and time of day have a big impact on the standard of sunshine you’ll should work with, so preserve that in thoughts as you intend your picture session.

Basically, the hour earlier than sundown till simply after sundown is whenever you’ll discover the actually lovely gentle. Overcast days are additionally surprisingly good for portraits. After all, you additionally should discover a time that’s handy on your topic so the timing of the picture session is commonly a compromise between sensible concerns and optimum lighting situations.

Graduation portrait with flowers.

Graduation portrait with flowers.

Different preparations you can also make are planning the sorts of images you and your topic need and the clothes they’ll be carrying. Typically these are given – as an example, in the event you’re making wedding ceremony or commencement portraits.

Wanting up inspiration for poses and compositions on-line is an effective method to prepare, as is utilizing your self as a follow topic.

Outdoor portrait with fruit.

Outdoor portrait with fruit.

By “what if”, I imply you need to have a backup plan. When planning a portrait session with a buyer, I at all times ensure to have a reserve day in case the climate doesn’t cooperate, somebody will get sick, or any of one million different sudden issues occur.

It could possibly additionally imply having a reserve place to make the portraits, one that can nonetheless work if the unique one doesn’t for some motive.

Outdoor portrait in the rain.

Outdoor portrait in the rain.

Do Your Greatest and Benefit from the Second

The time has arrived and so has your topic. You’re in the best place on the proper time, and now all you need to do is make some nice portraits. There are lots of nice articles that cowl the principle issues that can assist you make one of the best of it, so I’ll solely point out them:

  • All the time concentrate on the background: what sort of patterns are there, what colours, what’s the gentle like?
  • Don’t be afraid to pose your topics.
  • Make your topics really feel snug and calm – this fashion you may each get pleasure from each the session and the ultimate portraits.

Portrait of child in the grass.

Portrait of child in the grass.

A Sensible Instance

Lastly, I wish to share a method that I generally use for location portraits with clients. It’s not at all times attainable or smart to do that, however when it’s, it’s a straightforward method to have a cushty and enjoyable picture session.

That is what I do…

After I do know when and the place the portraits might be made, I go to the place and familiarize myself with it. Then I discover the world, discover a good path to stroll alongside, and select a number of locations the place the portraits may be made alongside that route. When it’s time for the picture session, I take the topics on a brief stroll alongside the route that I discovered. I additionally inform them concerning the plan, in order that they know what’s going to occur.

On-location family portrait.On-location family portrait.

I took this pretty household on a stroll with some lovely backdrops.

This method provides many benefits. In case you don’t know your topics, taking a little bit stroll is a pleasant method to loosen up and chat a bit earlier than you begin making the images. It typically additionally makes the topics really feel much less awkward and on the spot, since they get to soak up the environment a bit reasonably than instantly being put in entrance of a lens.

For you, as a photographer, it’s a great way to construction the session, to have a starting and an finish however depart loads of room for spontaneity. It additionally helps you to use a number of completely different settings inside the similar space so you may supply your topic a spread of various portraits afterward.


Figuring out how one can make location portraits is a really helpful talent in lots of conditions: weddings, birthdays, graduations, for households, bands, groups, pets, and many others. The record goes on and on.

What’s your favourite half about making portraits on location? Are there some particular challenges you’ve encountered? I’d like to see your images and your ideas within the feedback part!


Sadly, that is my final article right here at Digital Pictures Faculty. I’ve discovered lots and actually loved it, each writing the articles and participating in all of the discussions we’ve had. Thanks! You possibly can discover all my articles right here.

Continue learning about and having fun with pictures – I positive will!


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