One of the best ways to create a natural looking portrait is to shoot daylight headshots outdoors. Using either natural shade or an overhead scrim, even bright sunny daylight can be softened to minimize shadows, which helps to reduce the visibility of skin blemishes, wrinkles, and scars.

In this gallery, all the images were shot outdoors using the combination of a shaded area and a small overhead scrim. No flashes were used in these images, and all headshots were photographed with a relatively shallow depth of field to throw the background out of focus, and to produce a softer look to the daylight headshots.

If these daylight headshots were produced without shade (i.e. in the open sun), the images would have more contrast and punch. Producing headshots on a bright sunny day without shade can cause squinting and reflections in glasses. When bright sunny day photos are produced for commercial images (e.g. fashion or editorial images), they tend to include mixed lighting that includes the use of studio lighting outdoors.

When choosing clothing for daylight headshots outdoors, it’s best to know what background colours will be part of the image first. Then choose clothing that does not clash or blend in with the background.

In the sample with the green hedge in the background, the headshots were shot for a Vancouver law firm in a parking lot just outside their office building. The background is deliberately shot out of focus to produce an abstract look. These were all photographed using natural daylight only.

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