Indoor vs outdoor portraits: which is better?
The pros and cons of shooting portraits indoors and outdoors.
Location, location, location. When it comes to portrait photography, it is an important thing to consider.
You could opt for the indoor studio set up, simply sooting in your living room at home, or venturing outdoors for a natural backdrop. The question is, which is better?
A studio set-up will obviously give you more control over the lighting of your shot, and using a plain white or coloured backdrop will guarantee your subject will stand out in the frame.
However, this type of shot can sometimes appear a little static and dull. Plus, if your subject is a young child, they are likely to get bored and may feel uncomfortable in this type of environment. Try to prevent this by giving them a prop to play with or inventing a game to make them laugh.
Conducting the photoshoot at home will make the photo feel more natural. Kids are more likely to relax at home and they can occupy themselves with watching TV or playing with their toys whilst you set up the shot.
On the other hand, it can be very tricky to get good lighting at home. Unless you have a large window to position your subject next to, you may struggle to get a well lit shot, and even then you may find that your shot is backlit or unwanted shadows appear across their face. If this is the case, try using a reflector or your camera’s flash to fill in the shadows.
Taking your shots outdoors can turn the photoshoot into more of a fun day out rather than a mission to get a good photo. A trip to the park or the beach will help keep the kids entertained and gives you the opportunity to get some great candid shots of them whilst they are running around or climbing trees. You will need to watch out for distracting background, but it should be easy to find a simple hedge or a bit of open space to use a backdrop.
Unfortunately the lighting can be a bit hit or miss for outdoor portraits. Bright midday sun can result in harsh light and shadow and your subject squinting when they look at the lens. Try moving your subject into the shade or shooting in the golden hours, just after dawn and just before dusk, for a more flattering shot.
So the answer is… all three locations have their merits and issues for you to overcome. It will often depend on the type of shot you are after and the equipment that you have to hand that will decide which one you go for.