Exploring Natural Light: Tips for Outdoor Portraits

  • Flores Photography

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Photography is all about capturing the perfect moment and telling a story through images. Whether you are a professional photographer or an amateur, you know that lighting is one of the most important factors in creating high-quality photographs. When it comes to outdoor portraits, natural light can be your best friend or your worst enemy. In this blog, we will explore some tips for using natural light to your advantage when taking outdoor portraits.

Timing is Everything

The first and most important thing to consider when taking outdoor portraits is the timing. If you want to capture the best natural light, you need to pay attention to the time of day. The ideal time for outdoor portraits is during the “golden hour,” which is the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset when the sun is low in the sky and the light is warm and soft. During this time, the light is not as harsh, and the shadows are more forgiving.

Find the Right Location

The location of your outdoor photo shoot can make all the difference in the world. When scouting for locations, look for areas with open shade or diffused light. Avoid shooting in direct sunlight, as it can create harsh shadows and cause your subjects to squint. If you must shoot in direct sunlight, try to position your subjects so that the sun is behind them. This will create a nice halo effect and help to eliminate harsh shadows.

Use Reflectors and Diffusers

Reflectors and diffusers are essential tools for any outdoor photographer. They can be used to bounce light onto your subjects or to diffuse harsh light. Reflectors come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and can be used to fill in shadows and create a more even exposure. Diffusers are used to soften harsh light and create a more natural look. They come in various sizes and can be handheld or mounted on a stand.

Pay Attention to Composition

Composition is an important factor to consider when taking outdoor portraits. The rule of thirds is a popular composition technique that involves dividing the frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically. By placing your subject at one of the intersections, you can create a more visually appealing image. Another composition technique to keep in mind is leading lines. Leading lines can be used to draw the viewer's eye to your subject.

Experiment with Exposure

Exposure is another important factor when taking outdoor portraits. Depending on the lighting conditions, you may need to adjust your exposure settings to get the best results. If you are shooting in bright sunlight, you may need to use a faster shutter speed and a smaller aperture to avoid overexposure. If you are shooting in low light, you may need to use a slower shutter speed and a larger aperture to let in more light.


Natural light can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to outdoor portraits. By following these tips, you can use natural light to your advantage and create stunning images that tell a story. Remember, timing and location are key, and reflectors and diffusers can be your best friends. Don't be afraid to experiment with different exposure settings and composition techniques. With a little practice and some patience, you can take your outdoor portraits to the next level. 

If you're looking for a professional photographer who knows how to make the most of natural light, look no further than Flores Photography. We specialize in family, lifestyle, and business photography services in Scarborough, Toronto, ON. Contact us today to learn more about our services and schedule your outdoor portrait session.

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