Photographers are often drawn to the allure of outdoor photography, where the world becomes their canvas and nature provides the perfect backdrop. However, shooting outdoors comes with its own unique set of challenges that can sometimes make or break a photoshoot. In this article, we will explore the various obstacles photographers face when shooting on location and the strategies they employ to overcome them.

The Ever-Changing Weather

One of the biggest challenges of outdoor photography is dealing with unpredictable weather conditions. Shooting on a sunny day might seem ideal, but harsh sunlight can create unflattering shadows and blown-out highlights. On the other hand, shooting in cloudy or overcast conditions can result in dull and flat-looking images. Photographers need to be prepared to adapt to changing weather and make the most out of any lighting situation.

To mitigate the impact of harsh sunlight, photographers often schedule their shoots during the golden hour – the time shortly after sunrise or before sunset when the lighting is soft and warm. This provides a more flattering light that adds depth and dimension to their subjects. Additionally, using diffusers or reflectors can help control the intensity of the sunlight and create a more balanced lighting setup.

Scouting Locations and Permits

Finding the perfect location for an outdoor photoshoot involves more than just stumbling upon a beautiful spot. Photographers often spend hours scouting locations, searching for unique landscapes or urban settings that match their vision. However, not all locations are accessible or free to use.

Some picturesque locations require permits or prior permission to shoot, especially if it is public or private property. It’s crucial for photographers to do their research and obtain the necessary permissions to avoid any legal complications or disruptions during the shoot. Understanding local regulations and building relationships with location owners can help streamline the process and make shooting on location a smoother experience.

Battling the Elements

When photographing in outdoor environments, photographers often find themselves face to face with unforeseen challenges. Strong winds can knock over equipment or create unwanted movement in garments or hair. Insects and bugs can become unwelcome guests in the frame. Shooting in extreme temperatures can affect both the photographer and the gear.

Being prepared for these obstacles is crucial. Photographers often carry sandbags or weights to stabilize their equipment and prevent accidents. They may also use insect repellents or consider shooting at certain times of the day when bugs are less active. When shooting in extreme temperatures, photographers protect their gear by using weather-sealed cameras and lenses, and they pay close attention to their own safety and comfort.

Traffic and Distractions

Outdoor locations are often bustling with activity, from pedestrians and vehicles to other photographers or filmmakers. Dealing with traffic and distractions can be challenging, especially when trying to capture a moment or maintain the focus of the subject.

To minimize distractions and keep the focus on the subject, photographers may choose to shoot during quieter times of the day or use techniques such as shallow depth of field to blur the background and emphasize the subject. Communication and direction become even more important when dealing with distractions, with photographers guiding their subjects and offering clear instructions to capture the desired shots.


Outdoor photography offers endless possibilities and the chance to create captivating images in unique settings. However, it also presents its fair share of challenges. By understanding and preparing for the obstacles that come with shooting on location, photographers can navigate these difficulties with ease and create breathtaking photographs that tell captivating stories.