Beginner Basics: Natural Light Portrait Photography, with Matt Kloskowski

Join Matt Kloskowski on location under sunny Florida skies to learn the basics of shooting beautiful portraits in natural light.

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.

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Course Lessons:

Lesson 1: Introduction (Duration 01:11)

Join Matt on location as he introduces the topics that will be covered in this class.

Lesson 2: Camera Bodies (Duration 01:43)

Learn the important factors to consider when picking a camera body to use for natural light portraits.

Lesson 3: Lenses (Duration 03:05)

The lens you choose will have a bigger impact on the photo than the camera body you use.

Lesson 4: Camera Settings (Duration 05:20)

There is a basic formula you can use to help you choose the right settings every time.

Lesson 5: Shooting Under Bright Sun (Duration 03:41)

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.

Lesson 6: Putting it into Practice (Duration 03:39)

Matt demonstrates the concepts covered with a family portrait.

Lesson 7: Shoot into the Sun (Duration 02:10)

Sometimes you can shoot into the sun and make it work for your portraits.

Lesson 8: Using the Shade (Duration 01:35)

The light in the shade can be less dynamic than bright sun, but still very useful for portraits.

Lesson 9: Reflectors (Duration 02:59)

Reflectors are a very useful, low cost, and low tech tool for enhancing natural light portraits.

Lesson 10: Diffusing the Light (Duration 02:42)

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.

Meet Your Instructor: Matt Kloskowski

Matt is the 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…


  1. 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.

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

  2. 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. Thanks.

  3. 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, Ken

  4. 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 :)

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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