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  • Writer's pictureAlex McClain

Outdoor Shooting: Pros and Cons

If you're wondering if you should book an indoor or outdoor shoot, then this blog post is for you. This blog post is one in a series of post that will discuss the pros and cons of booking an outdoor shoot vs booking a studio/indoor shoot.

Keep reading to learn all things Pros and Cons for Outdoor shoots. In the listing I provide insight from both a photographer and client perspective.


  • Locations are limitless! You can shoot anywhere outside and make it work when you get creative. Outside locations can typically be free. Parks, garage roof tops, the beach, nature trails, Downtown areas, etc. are all places you can typically show up and shoot for free. Picking an outdoor location is based on the type of photoshoot you are doing and if you have a specific look or theme in mind. Your surroundings can be used as inspiration and sometimes even props! Also if you're looking to change up the scenery of your background while shooting outside, you don't have to walk far. With the right creative eye you can truly make the most out of shooting at an outdoor location.

  • Side note for photographers on location- make sure you aren't on a private property. If you need permission to be cleared before, be sure to discuss that and clear it with your client and the property owner.

  • Natural lighting - If you're a photographer who learned to shoot in manual outdoors, then nothing beats natural light. Something about it will forever have my heart. If you know how to work your camera and understand lighting elements and shooting in manual, natural light is your best friend.

  • No studio fees. Again shooting outside is normally free. (Sometimes you may have an entry fee for state parks)

  • You don't need any extra props. Shooting outdoors allows for a lot of versatility with your background etc. Get creative!

  • As a photographer it's great advertisement! I'm not even going to lie. I've shot a few sessions outside and have had people walk up and ask for my business card and they've later booked photoshoots with me! So always keep a business card handy.

  • Large Groups- Outdoor shooting also works great for larger group shots.

  • Not a lot of equipment is needed. If you can master shooting in manual and owning your camera, that's typically all you need to shoot outside. Sometimes you may need a reflector or two, but in most cases your camera is enough.


  • Weather would probably be an obvious con right off bat. Sometimes weather cannot be controlled or predicted and sessions have to get rescheduled. It happens. But my advice is to keep a close eye on the weather ahead of time and if adjustments need to be made, make them sooner than later if you can. Also, while shooting being mindful of the climate. When it's hot or when it's cold and making sure your client is comfortable in both conditions. Bring a hand fan for warmer weather, or offer a blanket in between for cooler seasons etc.

  • Lighting- The outside light is typically all you have. This makes you limited to when you can shoot. ( Unless you are a photographer who shoots at night, I personally DO NOT). But because you're relying on natural light, your time is limited to when the sun is out. But also, you have to be careful, if you shoot at high noon, and you aren't skilled it can be difficult. You have to be mindful of harsh lighting and harsh shadows on your subject etc. Also as a photographer if you don't know the basis of shooting in natural light and how to work your camera, shooting outside can be difficult. I know some people do bring along off camera flash, but personally I feel like that's extra equipment to drag around. I personally prefer to shoot early in the morning before 11am or towards the evening when things are cooler. The evening times can vary due to day light savings time during the spring and winter. ( Is daylight savings a thing, I heard it was up for debate in 2022?)

  • Make sure the photoshoot you book for outside works for outside. I make sure to communicate with my clients before on exactly what they are looking for and what they're overall vision for thier photoshoot is. I make location recommendations when needed to help guide things along. By this I mean, I don't recommend booking a full branding shoot for outdoors only. Most branding shoots also include an indoor/ professional setting or element as well. But outdoor shoots work great for families, birthday shoots, graduation, individual portraits etc.

  • Props - While props aren't needed, sometimes people do bring them. One prop I recommend NOT to bring: Balloons. The wind will take them and typically the strings can get tangled. Number balloons are "okay" but I try to stay away from props outside. Not to mention having to lug them around from spot to spot.

  • Changing - If you have more than one outfit and booked an outdoor shoot, you have to be comfortable changing in your car, or looking for a place near by that might let you change. Some photographers can provide pop up tents, but not all. ( I don't provide pop up tents) Be mindful of what you're comfortable with. You can be smart by making your outfit change simple. For example, changing a blazer out, or clothing items you can quickly take on or off.

  • You'll always have an audience - Depending on where you shoot, if it's a busy public area, just be prepared for people to stare or watch. I've had people walk by my shoots and give compliments or encourage the client as they're posing during their session. For some people it can be unnerving, others love a show!

I'm sure this list could go on and perhaps I've missed a few on the list. But overall, I hope you thought this blog to be helpful for both clients and photographers. There are many elements to consider when booking an outdoor shoot and I hope you can use this to better plan your next shoot with Ignited Soul Expressions!

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