DIY Studio for Outdoor Portrait Photography

26 July 2021

Last year, when COVID was hitting all of us hard, setting up a beauty or portrait shoot in the studio was quite a pain. So after a short break from shooting portraits, I got back to it mid-summer and shot more portraits on location. Last week, I showed you one project I shot in the beautiful valley of Lötschental, and this week while still outdoors, it’s less creative and more local. The location is about 5-min away from my house.

I wanted to try something that’s quite trendy, at least was in 2020: creating a studio outdoors. It meant taking a backdrop, the means to put it up, lighting, and everything. My idea wasn’t to copy and paste what everyone had done for about a year when shooting outdoors, but rather show that despite COVID and how it impacted the organization of shoots, it was still possible to do what we love and do best: beauty and portrait photography.

The first issue we encountered was the wind… even minimal wind would blow the backdrop away, and it fell quite a few times. Sandbags helped, but still, it wasn’t perfect – note to myself, take larger stands if I ever shoot a similar setup in the future. The canvas backdrop did well with wind, but the paper one got wrinkly very quickly, and depending on the result one would be looking for, it’s far from perfect.

As far as light goes, my ELB 500 did very well, and using HSS made it a breeze to use and combine with natural light. The sun was used as a secondary light – fill light on some shots, hair light on others.

This on-location project, just like the previous one, made me want to shoot on location more and integrate the beautiful decors we have in Switzerland in my projects. Shooting outdoors in nature is a lot more hassle than shooting in a studio but so worth it and so fun as well. It’s kinda of a mini holiday trip for the whole crew ☀️


Model: Luana Silva
Makeup: Mélanie Jungo
Photography & editing: Quentin Décaillet