Introduction: Keeping the Focus on Your Model

This natural light photography course will help you master a number of different techniques when using just natural light and your camera. This section covers photographing single subjects, couples, families, children and group shots and will help you understand how to find the right location, know when the ideal time for photography is and identify the best light for photographing.

This photography class is an outdoor portrait in a stunning location, but beautiful locations can sometimes be tricky. They can be quite busy, which can make it difficult to keep the focus on your model.

In this photography class, Karl explains the basics of photographing with natural light before going into detail about how to isolate a model in a busy setting such as this. He also points out the best light to photograph in and explains why before showing you exactly how to make the most of available light by carefully positioning your model and waiting for the perfect moment.

In this class:

  • Portrait photography using natural light
  • How to use natural light for outdoor portraits
  • Camera settings for outdoor portraits using natural light
  • How to pose your model
  • Creative composition for outdoor portraiture

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Hi Karl,
    I am new to your educational videos. I’m already enjoying it… I’m in so much love with these portraits….🤩🤩 I want to do oly portrait photography i hope to click pics like you one day🤞🤞

  2. Hi Karl,

    These are stunning photos. In none of these photos is the sunlight directly hitting the model’s face. Is the diffused light enough to light up the face? What about the eyes? Do you fix those in the lightroom?


    1. Hi Nikhil, as we are in a forest here the backlighting from the sun is not full strength as there are only patches of it coming through the trees. The diffused light from the front was enough exposure for the models face.

  3. in this class, you are using a 70-200mm lens to blur the foreground. I other classes in this series, you were using a 70mm lens for the same purpose. That is the factor to made you chose a different lens. it appears they both accomplished the same goal.

    1. Hi Bob, in other classes I would be using an 85mm portrait lens. At this location I wasn’t sure how far away I would put my model in the scene so I thought it would be safer to go with the the 70-200 to give me a bit of scope incase I needed her further back in the forest.

  4. Sahils

    These are some of the most simple and stunning out door shots that I’ve seen in a while. I just love the simplicity of your explanations and clarity of communication.

  5. Hi Karl,
    beautiful portraits.
    how do you make such nice exposure on the face ? how do you meter ? spot, center weight or matrix to help in viewfinder.
    how did you keep focus on eye ? AF-ON back button focus and AF-C single point ? how do you follow the eye while she is walking ?

    1. Hi, Marc if you have these questions I think you should visit our essentials section as many of the things you are talking about are covered in the Introduction course. As for metering I have a new video on this coming soon which outlines what all the metering modes are for and explains why I have don’t mind which one I’m using, as a matter of fact it makes no difference to me which one I’m using which you’d understand better from the intro course. Focusing is also covered in the Intro course.

      1. Natural light scenes are so amazing to go out and shoot sometimes. I really enjoyed this film. So happy to join your course only few days ago. Its very easy to learn from you Karl. Connection with the viewer is high when you are in from of camera. I recently did lots of sport films directing, but I am back with photography. I started in a dark room in 1986, I was only 10 years old when I was working at black and white photography. After so many years I can openly say: Your films are amazing to learn from, easy to watch, friendly to listen ( few jokes would do good 🙂 ) Other than that bluebell shots it must have been on May. Enjoyed that very much .

        1. Thank you very much and glad you enjoyed it. I get a few more jokes in from time to time! 🙂

  6. derrick_connell

    Thanks for this module Karl. I am planning a shoot this weekend and have a similar location. You mentioned the focus points during the shoot. What type of focus points are you using (single point that you move?) and is there a module on your approach to focus points?

    Thanks in advance

  7. Your tip on framing was an excellent suggestion. In the video you mentioned that you made sure that she did not have any distractions behind her, my question is: would it have been distracting if you had a tree behind her given her skin tone in relation to a darker tone/colour of a tree (trunk)?

    1. Hi Nick with all photography you are delivering a message to the viewer. It simply comes down to how clear that message is and how easy it is for the viewer to absorb it. Sometimes we can have elaborate backgrounds if the position of everything doesn’t destroy the message. If you put a tree behind her there would be many factors to consider such as where were the branches emanating, what was the depth of field, what else was gonig on etc. For me it’s always about clarity – if you look at nearly all of my work I try to keep the message clear even if the shot has to have busy content –

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