Three Tips to Improve Your Composition in Outdoor Portraits

The ability to create images with powerful composition is one skill that separates great photographers from good ones. If you photograph weddings or anything involving outdoor portraiture, keeping these three tips in mind will help you to create strong compositions wherever you go.

In this video, Peter McKinnon shares three of his tips on composing better outdoor portraits. His first tip is to always be on the lookout for elements you can use to frame your subject. While a lot of us might first think of something like an archway or window to frame a portrait, framing can be done by shooting through leaves, architectural elements, or even other people. Incorporating a foreground or background element as a frame is a simple way to add a level of professionalism your portraits.

McKinnon’s second tip is to change the perspective of your shooting angle by varying the height at which you take your photos. How often are you standing on ground level when photographing your subject? By getting down low or finding something to climb on to get above your subject, you will portray your subject differently and also use elements located up in the air or on the ground in your background.

The third tip is to make use of unique patterns of light, like having your subject stand in strong shadows being cast by harsh light. Creating effective compositions is one of the most important skills to refine, and these three tips will give you something to think about the next time you find yourself a bit “stuck” in a location and are trying to create more variety within one area.

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2 Comments

stir photos's picture

This is the first time I've seen this guy; I like him. Good stuff, composition has been on my mind a lot lately and this video was both well done and informative.

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

I found him a couple months ago. Really informative videos.