Can Headshots Be Outdoors?

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Can Headshots be outdoors? Absolutely!

As with any other question regarding ‘how’ with headshots, it really goes back to the ‘why’ to arrive at the best answer.

Headshots are, by definition, an image that includes primarily the head and shoulders of an individual. It is not a portrait, nor is it a landscape or defined by the setting or other elements in frame. The goal of a headshot is to focus (pun intended) on the PERSON in the image. To that end, the photographer usually strives to avoid or eliminate distractions in order to maintain the face and expression as the primary element in the headshot.

What about weather? Photography of any kind is dependent on light……and light outdoors is inherently less controllable than man made light sources such flashes. Generally, the preferred times to shoot outdoors are morning and late afternoon, when the sun is lower. Midday is less ideal, as the light is directly overhead, causing harsh shadows.Then there are the issues of temperature and precipitation. Weather can definitely put a damper on outdoor sessions: humidity, sweat, rain, wind…all are NOT conducive to good headshots.

If the outdoor look is something you definitely like, there are several things to consider. Be prepared to shift dates or times as weather permits.Keep in mind that there are only limited times when light is ideal. Understand that bugs, distractions, or location issues can be part of the equation when outdoors. As photographer Melissa Tremblay says “Photography is a creative service, and images are living and breathing things. When shooting outdoors everything is part of the story being told and captured in the image.”

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