Beginner Basics: Natural Light Portrait Photography By Matt Kloskowski

27 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

Creating portraits under natural light gives you the flexibility to shoot at almost any time of day with a minimal amount of gear. In this class Matt teaches everything you need to know to take your natural light portraits to the next level. You’ll learn what to consider when choosing a camera body and lens for portraits, a formula for dialing in the right camera settings, how to work with bright sun and deep shade, and a ton of tips and tricks aimed at helping you get killer results every time.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Join Matt on location as he introduces the topics that will be covered in this class.
Learn the important factors to consider when picking a camera body to use for natural light portraits.
The lens you choose will have a bigger impact on the photo than the camera body you use.
There is a basic formula you can use to help you choose the right settings every time.
You can't always choose the time of day to take your natural light portraits, so here are a few tips to help you shoot under even the brightest conditions.
Matt demonstrates the concepts covered with a family portrait.
Sometimes you can shoot into the sun and make it work for your portraits.
The light in the shade can be less dynamic than bright sun, but still very useful for portraits.
Reflectors are a very useful, low cost, and low tech tool for enhancing natural light portraits.
Another useful tool for natural light portraits is called a scrim, which allows you to diffuse the light from the sun and create your own shade.
Profile photo of Matt Kloskowski

Meet your instructor

Matt Kloskowski


Matt was the former full-time Director of Education for Kelby Media Group and a Tampa-based photographer. He's the Editor-in-Chief of Lightroom Magazine, the lead instructor on the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom LIVE Seminar Tour and author of several best-selling Photoshop books. Matt also hosts the world's top Lightroom blog, LightroomKiller...

Matt's Courses


Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of Carol Runkle Carol Runkle

    Excellent video. I like Matt’s teaching style. Easy to understand and follow. I am making this video one of my favorites. Thanks, Matt.

  2. Profile photo of laperdue laperdue

    Matt – thanks for the tips – since I am local to the area, what park were you at? It looks like Philippe Park in Safety Harbor, but wasn’t sure. I usually avoid this time of day, but it’s nice to know how to work the light in case the choice for time of day is limited.

    1. Profile photo of Matt Kloskowski Matt Kloskowski

      Hi – it was indeed Philippe Park in Safety Harbor. It was in back by the mound and water areas.
      Thanks :)

  3. Profile photo of Wislia Wislia

    I live in Gainesville, Florida. Where is this beautiful place you were shooting?
    Thanks for your amazing classes

  4. Profile photo of mherm mherm

    Hello Matt,

    Great lesson with great tips. I too am from the area and thought I recognized the setting. I recently joined KelbyOne and the first two lessons (this one and one with Scott Kelby) have both been very informative. Looking forward to watching more.


  5. Profile photo of kentmcpherson kentmcpherson

    Matt, great tips for summer time outdoor shots. I live in Michigan. Have you been up here in the winter? Any thoughts on taking outdoor portraits in the winter?

  6. Profile photo of

    Great info Matt I appreciate it

  7. Profile photo of Sandy Hansen Sandy Hansen

    Very helpful Matt, wish you would have told us metering mode you use! That really makes a difference.

  8. Profile photo of Jose Jimenez Jose Jimenez

    Good Stuff! Very helpful info!!

  9. Profile photo of Jennifer Beecher Jennifer Beecher

    Great teaching style and easy to follow. Just the help I was looking for! Short segments make this lesson easy to follow and stay attentive. Keep up the good work!

  10. Profile photo of kgmusic kgmusic

    This was a great course. I found it useful to create a document with notes from the class. If you would like a copy feel free to download it here:
    I think it would be really helpful for your courses to have these types of documents with them. That way we could easily print them out and take them with us to shoot in the field. It’s like a quick check list to go through.

    Thanks again,


  11. Profile photo of Annerieke Annerieke

    Thanks Matt, excellent class. Very useful, well explained. Great to learn that with minimal adjustments, you can get great pictures.
    Now just waiting for the sun to come out here in Holland :)

  12. Profile photo of Kent Auf Der Heide Kent Auf Der Heide

    I’ve watched this video numerous. times. Excellent video. The question I have concerns fill light. I notice on all your shots you do now consider needing fill light. How do you get around the light on the family’s faces being flat and lacking a catch light. Thanks for all your video’s and would like to see you come back to KC sometime soon.

  13. Profile photo of Peter Peter

    I found the class to be very helpful. It was clearly taught and had excellent example photos. I am new to this website and if this is an example of the quality of the content I am sure I will be a happy customer.

  14. Profile photo of joycezurcher joycezurcher

    I cannot watch the course that I rented for three days, although I purchased free courses for two years. What can I do?

  15. Profile photo of joycezurcher joycezurcher

    Cannot see the course I rented. Why?

  16. Profile photo of caracaleeb caracaleeb

    I would like to have a program designed for me. I have a Nikon D 80 with some good lenses. I have specific material I want to photograph. How do I get an outline of a Kelby courses for my specific needs?

  17. Profile photo of rum74 rum74

    Nice video. Could you use a white umbrella as a scrim?

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