Ideas for an Outdoors Photo Shoot

Written by richard klopfenstein
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Ideas for an Outdoors Photo Shoot
Pairing the background with the subject is key when shooting outdoors. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Outdoors photo shoots can be a fun or challenging experience. A difficult part of an outdoors photo shoot can be embracing an unusual surrounding, while not allowing it to overpower the subject. This is best done by ensuring that your subject and background will complement each other well. A good tool to lean on when shooting photos outdoors is your creative intuition.

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Seek locations that match the personality of your subject. Seamless integration of a background in a photo can turn an "OK" shot into an amazing one. For example, a rustic farm property might be appropriate for a wholesome, traditional subject but not for a subject who's in a suit and carrying a briefcase. When looking for locations, seek spots that are relatively free of distractions. The best photo shoots combine two simple elements. Including more details will clutter photos instead of enhancing them.

"Golden Hour"

The "golden hour" occurs about an hour before sunset. This is when light from the horizon grows more red. Try placing a subject in front of the sun to capture "rim" light, which is a subtle outline of light. Subjects in "golden hour" light tend to give off a professional appearance and look best when turned 20 degrees toward the light instead of facing it directly.


Animals are an easy element to include in a outdoors photo shoot. They can be unpredictable, which might pose a challenge or opportunity when taking photos. Try having a subject imitate an animal's appearance or position, or have the animal imitate your subject. Some ideas might work better than others, but don't put your subject or the animal in danger.


Water can be an interesting element to shoot outdoors. Experiment with the different forms that water can take: rain, oceans, rivers or ice. Using a hose, for example, can produce several images of different arcs of water and spray effects. Additionally, if possible, try underwater photography by adding a waterproof case for your camera.

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