Photo – How to succeed in an outdoor portrait?

Who I am
Judit Llordes
@juditllordes
Author and references

The portrait is undoubtedly one of the most popular photographic practices, especially because it does not require specific equipment to start. Discover all the techniques and tips to improve your shots.

In this file, we are going to approach the outdoor portrait under different aspects, from the choice of material to the implementation. You will learn how to manage natural light, but also how to use fill flashes (artificial light) to create special atmospheres with your model. You will also discover techniques for highlighting a face, a look, working with light and of course shadows, playing with the depth of field and therefore selecting the right lenses to create harmonious blurs.



We will also invite you to discover the work of photographers whose work has particularly seduced us, as well as some readings to go further in the discovery of this photographic discipline.

Material / optics

Find below the tests of a selection of lenses generally used for portraiture. Whether you're shooting outdoors or in the studio, portrait lenses are bright and have a focal length equivalent to or greater than 35mm.

Canon mount

to read also: 16Test : Zoom

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM: a compactness that in no way detracts from its qualities

Announced at the end of October after the RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM and RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM, the RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM is the lens that...

2 years ago to read also:
Quiz: Objective

Tamron SP 70-200 mm f/2,8 Di VC USD G2

Tamron took advantage of CP+ 2017 to launch the second version of its 70-200mm f/2,8 in the SP range. A bit like with the recent 150-600...


4 years ago to read also :39Test: Fixed focal length

Canon RF 50mm f/1,2L USM: consistent sharpness

The Canon RF 50mm f/1,2L USM is the second lens available in the RF mount compatible with the EOS R mirrorless. After a transst...

3 years ago to read also :39Test: Fixed focal length

Canon RF 50mm f/1,2L USM: consistent sharpness

The Canon RF 50mm f/1,2L USM is the second lens available in the RF mount compatible with the EOS R mirrorless. After a transst...

3 years ago to read also :6Test : Zoom

Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD: versatile portrait zoom

Available in Canon EF and Nikon F mount, we had to test the Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD in Nikon F mount, but on a hyb...

2 years ago

Fuji film mount

to read also: 15Test: Fixed focal length

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 R WR: for portraiture

Designed for Fujifilm X-mount hybrids, the Fujifilm Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 R WR is a suitable lens for portrait lovers...


4 years ago to read also:Quiz: Objective

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 56 mm f/1,2 R

This Fujifilm Fujinon XF 56mm f/1,2 R is equivalent to an 85mm (conversion coefficient due to the APS-C sensor). It is composed of 11 lenses...


7 years ago to read also:Quiz: Objective

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 90 mm f/2 R LM WR

This lens with a maximum aperture of f/2 is equivalent to a 135 mm lens in 24mm format. These characteristics make it particularly suitable for...

6 years ago

Micro 4/3 mount

to read also:Quiz: Objective

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42,5 mm f/1,2 ASPH

Panasonic is taking advantage of CES 2014 to confirm the arrival of its all-new 42,5mm f/1,2 (announced last August), an ultra-bright...

7 years ago to read also:Quiz: Objective

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45 mm f/1,2 PRO

The new 45mm f/1,2 M.Zuiko PRO from Olympus is the second fixed focal length from the manufacturer to offer an ultra-bright f/1 aperture,...

4 years ago to read also:Quiz: Objective

Olympus M.Zuiko 45 mm f/1,8

Presented concomitantly with the 12mm f/2, the M.Zuiko 45mm f/1,8 fixed focal length features a rather attractive design with a sleek style, a...


10 years ago to read also :2Test: Fixed focal length

Sigma 56mm f/1,4 DC DN Contemporary: great performance at a low price

Unveiled at Photokina 2018, the Sigma 56mm f/1,4 DC DN is the sixth lens in the DN range and the third to offer a very...


2 years ago

Nikon mount

to read also:Quiz: Objective

Nikkor AF-S 70-200 mm f/2,8 E FL ED VR

This is the third version of this zoom, which is a staple for many photographers, and the perfect companion to a 24-70m...

4 years ago to read also :30Test: Fixed focal length

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1,4E ED, the ultimate portraitist

After the 24, 35, 50, 58 and 85 mm, the AF-S Nikkor 105 mm f/1,4E ED joins the less and less closed club of Nikkor FX lenses (24 x 36...

5 years ago

Sony mount

to read also :106:30Test: Fixed focal length

Viltrox PFU RBMH 85mm F1.8 STM Sony E: good finish and solid sharpness

The Chinese photo prop company Viltrox is no longer content with its favorite segment, but offers lenses for So...

1 year ago to read also :19Test: Fixed focal length

Sony FE 135 mm f/1,8 GM : simplement excellent

By unveiling the technical specifications of its 135mm f/1,8 a month ago, Sony promised high-level optical quality and ex...

2 years ago to read also:Quiz: Objective

Sony FE 70-200 mm F2.8 GM OSS : un télézoom premium

Belonging to the G Master range, which should ensure extreme sharpness as well as very beautiful bokeh effects, the Sony G Master FE 70-...

4 years ago to read also :2NEWS: Fixed focal length

Tokina atx-m 85mm F1.8 FE lens: portrait for Sony mirrorless cameras

The Japanese firm announces the marketing of the fixed focal length atx-m 85mm F1.8 FE, an interesting lens for portraits. Equipped with...

1 year ago to read also:Quiz: Objective

Sony FE 90 mm f/2,8 Macro G OSS

6 years ago

Tutorial - shooting

to read also: 14NEWS: Digital Camera

Portrait photography in natural light

Portrait photography is generally approached using two very different methods: photographing on the fly, reportage style,...

6 years ago to read also:NEWS : Photo

Outdoor portraiture 1: managing natural light and location

The outdoor portrait is for many photographers the opportunity to achieve magnificent images without the financial constraints...

6 years ago to read also:NEWS : Photo

The outdoor portrait 2: working on your light

Today we are continuing our series dedicated to outdoor portraiture. After seeing two weeks ago how to manage contra...

6 years ago to read also:NEWS : Photo

Outdoor portraiture 3: using flashes

Third part of our series dedicated to outdoor portraiture. After having seen how to manage natural light and the choice...

6 years ago to read also:NEWS : Photo

Outdoor portraiture 4: directing a model in an environment

After being interested, in the first three parts of our dossier devoted to outdoor portraiture, the choice of location and the g...

6 years ago to read also:NEWS : Photo

The outdoor portrait 5: organize a team session

In our previous articles, we have covered the essential technical notions when practicing outdoor portraiture...

6 years ago to read also:NEWS : Photo

The portrait in high key

The exact opposite of *low key* photography that we suggested you discover in a previous tutorial, the practice of high key...

4 years ago to read also:NEWS : Photo

Le portrait in low key

After a series of tutorials devoted to the use of reportage flashes, we continue our exploration of shooting techniques...

4 years ago to read also:NEWS : Photo

The portrait while traveling

If it seems logical and relatively easy to come back from vacation with a memory card full of landscape and architectural photographs...

5 years ago to read also:NEWS : Photo

The portrait in the sun

If we've already shared our tips for enjoying times of the day like golden hour and blue hour, it's going to be bad...

5 years ago to read also:NEWS : Photo

The backlight portrait

Sometimes considered a technical error, backlighting is a shooting situation that amateurs strive to...

5 years ago to read also:NEWS : Photo

Playing with shot scales in portrait

If, as we mentioned in a previous photo exercise devoted to the aesthetics of close-ups and very close-ups, the term "shot"...

4 years ago to read also:NEWS : Photo

The portrait on a cloudy day

If the studio is the favorite place of many photographers for the practice of portraiture, the outdoors often offers conditions...

6 years ago

Tutorial - retouching

to read also: 4NEWS : Photo

Photo tutorial – Photo editing of portraits with the "split frequency" method

Skin retouching in portrait photography is one of the most important techniques to acquire for the beginner photographer. For a ren...

2 years ago to read also:NEWS : Photo

Retouch your portraits the wet collodion way

The wet collodion photo technique was popularized, among others, by the Spanish photographer Nadar. Let's try to find the spirit...

4 years ago

Go further

to read also: Photo inspiration NEWS : Photo Inspiration photo

Photo inspiration: the encounters of Jean-Baptiste Pellerin

If we have long chased the #backtothestreet to find out who was hiding behind the photo collages that punctuate the streets...

1 year ago to read also:NEWS: Photobook

Photobook: 1 model, 50 portraits by Mark Wilkinson

More particularly intended for beginner photographers who wish to improve their portrait techniques, this book is a real...

1 year ago to read also:NEWS : Photo

Combining sports photography with portraiture

While sports photography can sometimes be the prerogative of photographers with expensive telephoto lenses, it is possible to get closer...

4 years ago to read also:NEWS : Photo

The timeless portraits of Pierre Gonnord

Youth is fashionable, in the noblest sense of the term. She takes shape. In a few weeks, the Portrait(s) de l...

4 years ago
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