Sometimes, as photographers, we don’t always have the luxury of shooting in the lovely early morning/late afternoon light. We just have to shoot in the middle of the day where the harshest light of the direct sun exists.
In this video by Peter McKinnon, he shares his tricks on how to take better photos in direct sunlight so you don’t end up with a bunch of photos that are super-contrasty and leave your model with harsh shadows around their eyes etc.
Tips to Take Better Photos in Direct Sunlight
1. Bounce the light
You could use a reflector or bounce card. Consider using natural reflectors such as light-colored concrete. Concrete acts as a natural reflector for the sun.
2. Diffuse the light
Have someone hold a diffuser in the line of the light source coming from the sun. This will defuse the harshness of the direct sun and soften it on your subject’s face.
Find areas of shade and if
3. Use the shadows to your advantage
If you don’t have a diffuser or a friend to hold one for you and you just have to shoot in the direct sunlight, take advantage of the shadows.
Find great spots (like a staircase) that have interesting patterned shadows to create interesting effects on your subject.
4. Move your model around
Keep in mind the direction your model is facing. Have them move around, and watch how the sunlight hits their face. Have them move until you get the most flattering/even light.
You may also find the following helpful:
- How to do Portrait Photography in Bright Midday Sun
- How to Photograph in the Harsh Midday Sun
- How to Beat the Midday Sun!
- 5 Ways to Create Dramatic Landscape Photos at Midday
- Review: Lastolite 6×4 Foot Panelite Collapsible Reflector with Translucent Diffuser
- Side-by-side comparison between reflectors and diffusers for portraits