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  • Writer's picturebonniejheath

Rethinking outdoor headshot photos

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

You may have an outdoor session in mind when planning your headshots, but it's important to keep several factors in mind when scheduling an outdoor shoot rather than an indoor session.

1. Does an outdoor location support your brand identity? If your work is primarily outdoors, the answer is definitely yes. For those who work outside, a photo in an outdoor environment helps tell a story about your profession or business. A few years ago, I photographed a group of arborists for their website, and I was happy to meet them at a wooded location with foliage in the background of their photos. This yoga instructor (below) organizes nature based yoga retreats, so we picked a park as her location.

2. What about the weather? The weather is a big reason to reconsider outdoor photos. If your session is postponed because of rain, it might be a week or two before your session can be rescheduled. In Atlanta, we have to deal with some pretty extreme heat in the summertime. On the flip side, there can be some very chilly days in January and February in our area. Additionally, if you are looking for greenery in the background of your photos, foliage can be scarce during the winter months.

3. Where will you change outfits? If the photo location is a public park, you might be able to change in a public bathroom. I also have a pop-up changing tent, like this one. It can be a bit cumbersome, but it's more private than changing in your car. Studio or home sessions will give you access to a private changing area and bathroom.

4. How does the time of day effect the light? Good lighting is essential to good headshot photography. Consider how high the sun is in the sky during the middle of the day. Midday is when sunlight at its most harsh and unflattering. For the best outdoor photos, you will want to schedule your outdoor session early in the morning, or later in the evening for softer, more flattering light. When I use strobe lights for indoor photo sessions, the light is controlled and always flattering.

If your work is not connected to nature, and you'd like the convenience of taking your photos in a private and temperature controlled space at any time of day, definitely consider a studio, office or home session. If you are hiring a professional photographer, the light will be amazing, and so will your headshot.

A last note- For the benefits of an indoor session, but with an outdoor look, consider a digital background replacement like the one at the top of this page.



Bonnie Heath, photographer, Atlanta


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