Outdoor Portraits with Levi Sim

In Master Photography Roundtable by Brent Bergherm2 Comments

Post-Processing Listener Survey 

Let’s get to our main topic. That is Outdoor portraits. As you all know I’m big in to the travel/outdoor genres of photography. Sometimes this involves photos of people in the various places I go. But I also like to dabble in the occasional portrait and I’ve been thinking of this show topic for a while and figured it’s time to make it happen.

About this time every year we take a family portrait. But this year we want to not do it in the studio, we want to go outdoors. 

So I wanted to bring my friend, Levi Sim, on as he does a lot of portraits. You might consider these environmental portraits, at least some of them will be considered that. So Levi, let’s go through these different scenarios and I want you to assume I know nothing about this subject. Because, in some cases, I absolutely don’t. I’m not a portrait pro like yourself, though I have done my share of weddings and other group shots. So let’s dive as deep as we can into these subjects.

Also, we will assume the we are looking to use at least one light in all shots.

1: Basic Headshot outdoors, one light

What should we look for when setting up a basic head and shoulders headshot outdoors. And what type of light do you typically use?

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2: One light, ¾ or full body portrait, one person

I’m thinking your typical senior photo here. Maybe they’re out in a field, football field, corn field, whatever. How do we position the light to get the best results?

3: Environmental Portrait

Is there a difference from what we just talked about and this idea of an “environmental portrait?” I kind of think there is, but maybe I’m crazy. Your thoughts…

4: Family Photos outdoors; one or two lights?

What do we need to think about as we add in more people. I have four children for example. That presents a challenge. How do we arrange them outdoors for an effective photograph?

5: Family Photos outdoors: no lights.

What do you change or consider differently when not using lights with outdoor portraits, specifically with family shots.

6: Portraits in the snow

What if we wanted to photograph people in the snow. And still using a flash. What advice do you have for us to keep the colors looking good and the highlights not blowing out and the shadows not filling in?

7: Listener submitted questions

  1. Miguel Flores: Best metering mode when subjects are backlit?
  2. Jamie Jane How do you make people you just met feel more comfortable and relax for a shoot? Your workflow and finding unique locations? I 💙 the podcast!!! Thank you for doing it! 🙂
  3. Josh Peterson Can I get a cool hat like you and Levi?


Levi: Item: Spider Holster Hand straps

“PhotoLevi” discount code, may not be as good as black Friday deals.

Brent: Zen Camera by David Ulrich https://amzn.to/35cLhI3

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  1. Pingback: Holiday Portrait Tips (Part 2) - Master Photography Podcast

  2. Any show notes? Levi mentioned a family photographer’s work I wanted to check out.

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