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How To Shoot in Full Sun

Photographing in the full sun doesn't have to be scary! I will admit I used to mega stress about having a session in the middle of the day. But now that I know how to use the light--any light--to best highlight my subjects, I don't have to sweat anymore (unless I'm actually sweating because of the full sun).

Here is an example from a family shoot I did recently at 9 in the morning. Like in my previous post, the best time of day for photos isn't when the photographer tells you the light is "best." The best time for photos is when it works for you, and specifically, for those cute little dictators who live with you. It was a beautiful fall morning, and the sun was shining brightly over the Bluffs. There were a number of areas where we were able to find open shade (read on for an explanation of that below), but this first picture was literally in an open field. We avoided heavy contrast shadows on their faces by putting their backs to their sun. The sun cascading down on them is being diffused by the tall grasses (not actual turf grass, which is more reflective adds unpleasant green tones to skin) and reflects beautiful soft light onto their faces. So dreamy, right?!

We had a really nice walk through the park and we just kept stopping at any nice spot we found. So in the photo below, we found a patch of open shade to take some more photos. There were enough large trees to create a patch of solid shade. ie, not mottled, as tree shade often is. So I positioned them in the shade, but facing towards the sun. If the shade had been mottled, I still would put their backs to the sun. You can see where the sun in the sky by the patch of highlighted field in the background (which in terms of composition I wouldn't call 100% ideal but I still like the look of this overall). We get evenly exposed skin tones because there is a huge area of open blue sky above us, which is basically nature's softbox, and the light is always travelling from the sun. (Also what I literally didn't notice until right now is their dog Rudy in the background. That's some serious fall-camouflage going on with his fur in this landscape!)

Fun in the sun! Or shade. Make it work because it's just a tool in your kit. You are the photographer so no matter what the light is doing, go out and take some pictures!

xo ke


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