Many photographers like to take portraits or fashion outdoors, as it does not require any huge investment such as owning a studio space and lights. Though it might look like an easy task, there are few things that you need to be aware of before and while doing fashion photography outdoors.
You might have a good-looking model and expensive camera and lens, but you still may not be able to capture professional results. You need not worry, as the tips mentioned below would help you drastically improve your results during your next outdoor fashion photo shoot.
1. Know the location well
The location is one of the first things you should finalize while planning an outdoor photo shoot. Scout the location at least once before the day of the shoot to ensure that you do not waste time on the final day. It is even better if you take some photos of the places that you feel could be perfect for your images, and simply browse through them on the day of your shoot.
If you follow these practices for your next outdoor photo shoot, you would surely save a lot of time as you would have already pre-planned and pre-visualized your frames.
2. Choose the right time of the day
Once you have finalized the location for the fashion photo shoot, you need to make sure that you choose the right time of the day to captured desired results. There is no fixed time of day that you should be shooting, it all depends on the weather conditions and how you want to use the ambient light.
Try and avoid the time when the sun is at its peak as it would create hard shadows on your model’s face. The safest time to shoot outdoors is either just after the sunrise or a couple of hours before the sunset. During a cloudy day, the light would be soft and there would be less contrast in the background (depending on the backdrop) but it all depends on your choice. I you wish to capture photos with diffused light, you can go ahead and shoot during a cloudy day.
3. Choose the right background
It is important to spend some time thinking about the background in your photo. You might see a beautiful location and simply pick up your camera and get started taking photos, without even visualizing whether the background will make or break your photo.
You need to think, visualize, and then frame accordingly, making sure that the colors in the background and the colors of the model’s clothes are not getting merged. The colors in the background should not overpower the model, which is the main highlight of your photo.
4. Try mixing ambient and flash light
Go out of your comfort zone and do something different by using both ambient light as well as flash. This gives an extra dimension to your photos. You can use the sun as the key light falling on the subject and place the flash at the back of the model to give a rim light effect on their face or hair. Or you can use the sun light as the rim light or the kicker and the flash as the key light source, this allows you to control the shadows on the face.
5. Make the model comfortable: Talk and Compliment
Expressions and body language of the model are key ingredients in fashion photography. You need to make sure that your model is comfortable shooting outdoors, as sometimes there may be other people surrounding you as you work. If it’s possibility that you are shooting with a model who is not professional or has just started his/her career, you as a photographer have to make your model feel comfortable.
You can do so by constantly interacting with your model, compliment them while he/she is posing and make them feel confident. You need to tell your model whether they are posing right, you must direct and get the best out of the model in the friendliest way possible.
6. Get the best possible exposure in camera
Never shoot with the thought that the exposure can easily be adjusted during post-processing. You can adjust the exposure later during the post-processing stage but you might end up losing details in your photo, depending on the camera that you are using. If you have taken a photo which is 2-3 stops over/under exposed, adjusting the exposure during processing will not give details as good as a correct exposure would.
If you adjust the exposure of an underexposed photo, remember that you may also be introducing noise. Similarly, if you adjust the exposure of an overexposed photo then you will not be able to retain as much details in the highlights as you would have in a correctly exposed photo.
To ensure that you are capturing correctly exposed photos during the shoot, you should refer to the histogram in your camera.
7. Shoot in RAW format
Never be afraid of shooting in RAW. It may take up space on your memory card but it is really for your benefit. Shooting fashion in RAW format allows you to capture much more details as compared to the JPEG format, which helps in retouching the image during post-processing.
Another benefit of RAW format is that it contains the maximum dynamic range possible from your camera and can be used to recover an overexposed or an underexposed image during the processing, as discussed in the previous point. You can also edit the same RAW file multiple times, without losing any details. Whereas, a JPEG file loses its quality every time you edit the image.
Being a photographer, you need to plan and stage the photo shoot so that you get the best possible results out of your model. From choosing the apt location to scheduling the shoot at the right time of the day, it is your job to get the things planned in advance to save time and energy. Try and get out of your comfort zone by adding more light sources such as the flash lights or strobes, this will help give you more professional results.
You might be using the best possible camera and lens, but if you are not able to get good expressions and body language, your photos will not stand out. So, the next time you plan an outdoor fashion photo shoot, do keep these tips in mind to achieve the best possible results.
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