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Outdoor headshots offer a unique opportunity to capture individuals in natural settings, utilizing the beauty of sunlight to enhance the visual appeal of the photographs. Mastering the art of outdoor headshot photography requires understanding how to harness natural light for stunning results. In this article, we’ll explore the techniques photographers can employ to create captivating outdoor headshots, with a nod to the expertise a studio known for its skilful use of natural light.

Timing is Crucial:

The key to achieving stunning outdoor headshots lies in choosing the right time of day to shoot. The “golden hours” during sunrise and sunset provide soft, warm, and flattering light that enhances skin tones and reduces harsh shadows. Shooting during these hours allows photographers to capture a natural, ethereal quality in their outdoor headshots.

Selecting the Perfect Location:

The location sets the stage for outdoor headshots. Whether it’s a lush park, an urban setting, or a beach at sunset, the environment should complement the subject’s personality and the intended mood of the headshot. Collaborate with the subject to choose a location that resonates with their style, ensuring a harmonious blend between the individual and the surroundings.

Understanding the Direction of Light:

To create stunning outdoor headshots, photographers must pay close attention to the direction of natural light. Backlit scenarios, where the light comes from behind the subject, can create a soft and glowing effect. Alternatively, side lighting can accentuate facial features and add depth. Experimenting with different angles and observing how the light interacts with the subject is essential for achieving optimal results.

Utilizing Shade for Even Lighting:

Direct sunlight can sometimes lead to harsh shadows and overexposed highlights. Utilizing shaded areas, such as under trees or buildings, helps create even and flattering lighting conditions. This technique minimizes the contrast between light and shadow, resulting in a more balanced and aesthetically pleasing outdoor headshot.

Employing Reflectors for Enhancement:

Reflectors are invaluable tools for outdoor headshot photography. They bounce natural light onto the subject, reducing shadows and adding a subtle glow to the skin. Reflectors come in various sizes and materials, allowing photographers to customize the amount of light they redirect. Experimenting with reflectors enhances control over the lighting dynamics of outdoor headshots.


Outdoor headshot photography is dynamic and rewarding when natural light is used to its fullest potential. Timing, location, understanding light direction, utilizing shade, employing reflectors, and drawing inspiration from the expertise of studios like Gorn Photo are critical elements in achieving stunning results. By incorporating these techniques, photographers can elevate their outdoor headshots, creating portraits that resonate with authenticity and visual appeal.