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3 Tips for Shooting Outdoors in Natural Light

For a long time I’ve wanted to share tips, tricks and how I started my business with those who may need a little guidance! I know first hand how it feels to have no one around to help answer questions or give tips. I wish social media was as big as it is now and marketing gurus who share their knowledge were around when I started. But hey, here I am, ready to share with you all!

If you’ve taken a look around and seen my work, follow me on social media, you know it’s no secret I love me some natural light when it comes to my photography style. The creaminess of the skin tones, the golden sunlight, I just love it!

It took me quite some time to understand how to achieve the look I wanted and to define my style of photography. I realized I was drawn to everything that was outdoors and natural. That’s when I developed my style with natural light and mastered it! It all comes down to one thing…PRACTICE!

As I started to learn how to shoot in natural light boy did I make some mistakes. You want to make sure you shoot with proper exposure and settings. Know exactly where to position your clients. You must get it right in the camera to avoid wasting time editing and “fixing” your mistakes! This can be so frustrating.

To help you, I want to share 3 tips to focus on to achieve better natural light photos outdoors. These tips are what helped ME and how I shoot! By no means is this the “only” way but I do use these methods every time!

1. Schedule your sessions an hour or two before sunset

By scheduling your session around this time you avoid the harsh light from the sun, hot spots and you will have less shadows on your clients faces. You will also be able to photograph your clients without having to worry about them squinting or being to hot. We live in Miami, FL and God knows the weather can be brutal.

But the MAIN reason I love to shoot at this time of the day is to get that nice golden light from the sun going down. It gives my photographs that beautiful glow that I live for! If you put your clients with their backs to the sun and position yourself just right, you’ll be in love with the light that comes in. (See image below)

Note: Keep in mind the time change. In my Wedding Guide for my Brides I have entire page dedicated to what time of the day is best to shoot when it’s spring, summer, fall and winter. The time change plays a huge roll!

2. Shoot in Manual

By Shooting in manual you are able to control your settings. It is important to understand your camera and learn what settings are the best for the location you are shooting. Shooting manual gives you total freedom to create powerful images. You can control how moody or airy you would like your photos to be.

I love natural light, outdoor sessions but I’m not always in that environment, especially during weddings. Shooting in manual allows me to adjust my settings and get my desired look no matter where I am. The main thing I look for when I shoot a wedding and I’m not outdoors is a LARGE Window! I always place my brides towards the light. (See image below)

3. Shoot Wide Open

This final step is all about preference and how bright and airy you would like your photos to look. For my style and the way I like to shoot I make sure I have a lens that allows me to lower my aperture. By lowering my aperture I am creating better depth of field and allow more light to come into my camera.

I rather lower my aperture and shutter speed than increase my ISO. Why? Because the higher your ISO the greater risk of having grain in your photos. Sometimes it can help tremendously but learning when to raise it is key!

My sweet spot for shooting wide open is anywhere between f2.8 – f1.4. How can I adjust my f-stop…by shooting manual! It all works together. The settings for the photo below were 1/160 and f2.8 🙂

I hope these tips help and give you a little inspiration to go out and practice. Their is only so much you can read. I feel the best teacher is actually going out and practicing. Grab your camera and grab your partner, kid or a friend and just go out and shoot! Learn your camera and create your style.

If you enjoyed these tips and would like for me to share more, comment below and let me know what you need help with or if you have any questions!

  1. Michelle Brito-Torres

    January 3rd, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    Thank you!

  2. Jessica Vashon

    January 5th, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    Love that you have these tips! I would absolutely LOVE to learn tips on editing images!!! I’m trying my best to learn Lightroom – there is so much to learn! I’ve been learning the camera and controlling Aperture ISO And SS but there are so many ways for smoothing skin and taking out blemishes etc…. I admire your work and would love to be able to learn from you. I will follow your posts – if you ever have time for a tutorial session I would absolutely love the opportunity.

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