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I’m in Florida this month and living in England, I never really have to consider the sun much. But doing sessions here, I have to consider it constantly. So if you have a session in the sun coming up, consider these tips:
1. Pay attention: You really have to pay attention to what’s going on. Where the sun is falling. I snapped this quick one of my family together and although I placed them in the shade, I had to move people around to make sure none of their faces were blown out by the sun falling between the trees.
2. Utilise Shade – I did a session last week in the downtown area of my town. It was high noon and the sun was relentless. I got there early and cased the joint to decide where I would place them in the shade of buildings, overhangs and awnings. Sadly, there were a few spots I would’ve love to have used, but they had no available protection from the sun. Although from the resulting photos, it looks like there was plenty of shade, I really had to be on the ball to keep them in the little bits of shade to be found. Often, I was in the blinding sun with a zoom lens while they were standing in the shade, sometimes across the road.
3. Catchlights – When you utilise tip 3, make sure that you’re positioning your subjects towards the light source or use a reflector to aim some light back into the eyes for juicy catchlights.
4. Think background – Much like with white seamless in the studio, you can make beautiful portraits utilising the sun outside of the area where you’re photographing. Like with this photo, it was another blindingly bright day last week (when is it not blinding in Florida?) when I photographed a birthday party. This little girl was in the shade of the porch with the bright outdoors behind her. It gives the effect of an exposed foreground and a blown out background like when you light a white roll in the studio.
5. Bokeh – Sun shining through trees makes for fabulous bokeh. Place your subject in an area where the sun isn’t hitting them, open up your aperture and zoom in.
What about you? If you live in a sunny place, I’d love to know your ideas for shooting in the sun!