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Indoor vs. Outdoor: Fashion Photography

Written by Backdrop Express Photography Team on . Posted in Model Photography, Photography Tips, Studio Photography

Woman with orange scarf on gray backdrop

The photography genre of fashion photography is challenging and unpredictable enough and can be even more unpredictable when you add uncertain circumstances of shooting outdoors. The location where you choose to shoot fashion photography – indoors or outdoors – is a key element to the artistic process.

Finding the right location may be difficult, especially when you have to work in multiple environments to achieve an overall theme. The tone, textures and dynamics of the location you choose will determine the overall success of your shoot. Everything about your fashion photograph – the light, the model and the photo backdrop – are all equally important to the success and look of your session. By understanding the differences between indoor and outdoor environments, knowing your tools and understanding how to be highly productive, you will set yourself up to have a successful fashion photo shoot.


Many people think that working indoors creates a sense of control and makes the photo shoot predictable. This is not 100% true. A fashion photographer who chooses to shoot indoors has to master the art of lighting, which can be one of the biggest challenges there is. Natural lighting can be combined with emulated lighting to create the desired look.

Artificial lighting can be used indoors to create shadows on the model or highlight a specific feature. It is important to perfect the balance of lighting and method of white balanced to prevent any unnatural colors, shades and hues caused by variations in light temperature.



Outdoor photography sessions are generally more casual, because both the photographer and model are able to creatively use the environment surrounding them. However, an outdoor session is dependent upon Mother Nature, who can be unpredictable and challenging. If used correctly, outdoor lighting can give a radiant glow and highlight the mood and expression of the model.

Timing is everything when shooting outdoors. One minute you may have the perfect shot and within seconds it can turn on you. Pay attention to clouds, the sun’s position and variances in natural light.

female model outdoors Another bonus about using an outdoor setting when shooting fashion photographs is the cost. It is less costly to use a natural environment than shooting in a studio. Reflector boards and fill lights are just about the only necessities (besides the camera equipment) that a beginning fashion photographer needs for an outdoor shoot.

 -Backdrop Express Photography Team

Interested in learning about glamour photography? Check out Taking a Glamour Shot!

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