Portraits: Shooting under bright sun

Have you ever had a shoot outdoors and you HAVE to schedule on a really crappy for portraits light? And yes, I am talking about shooting under bright midday sun.

Geez! This summer has come great where I live, which is quite weird as we don’t usually have this awesome summers. And that’s awesome cause it makes you want to try new things and go out, and shoot the most you can! I mean, you have to take advantage when you live in a place where you always have mist, fogg, or cloudy weather at its best.

The problem with it is… what the hell do I do with the dark, harsh, awful shadows in my subjects face? Those are horrible and show Everything that everybody wants to hide! Take a look to this picture as an example. Pay attention to the hard shadows and the squinty eyes… it is not the best look possible… right? I mean, nobody would love to use that picture even for a Facebook profile picture!

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And still, we’re photographers, we love to take: first of all, well lighted pictures. Second, nice pictures that people find interesting, charming and appealing (I would say nice, but sounds kinda cheesy, anyways, you know what I mean, right?). What should we do then?

Ok, there’s an easy solution for this, and is to put your subjets under the shadow. Can you see that big tree shadow on the background? That’s the kind of shadow you’d look for when shooting portraits under direct bright sun light. If you’re like me when I started you might think: “Oh … but if I put her under the shadow… it won’t be bright and happy as I want it to be! It’ll lose the summer time look!”.

Don’t worry!! That won’t happen!! There will still be plenty of light around to work with! The sun will be shinning and reflecting everywhere, and also you know how to compensate the shadow light with your camera, right? That’s why we learnt how to master the exposure triad, am I right?

What would I look shadow for then? To even the light and create beautiful, soft, even lighting! Something that suits your model and makes it work. If you need a little bit of an extra light to get that pump and make your subject be the center of attention, you can always use a reflector and bounce some of that hard sun extra light to them.

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In this case, you might find the light a little flat (eventhough I like it and I was looking for that) as this is not only a shadow shot, but it has being shot using the sun as a backlight, and as you can see it still looks like a summer, bright, awesome  sunny light photograph.

Hope this have helped you and you try it out in your new shots! If you do, please let me know! I’ll be so happy to see your results! ;)

And as always, any doubts you have, don’t hesitate to share and ask :)

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