Two Ways to Adapt to Harsh Sunlight When Shooting Outdoors Without Special Equipment

If you need to shoot in bright, harsh overhead lighting, your best bet is to either just go into the shade (in which case you need to think more, more on that in a moment), or rotate your subject 180 degrees. These tips may seem obvious, but the usefulness lies in the nuances.

In this video, David Bergman explains that it is generally best to photograph anything just after sunrise or just before sunset , as the low sun in the sky creates warm directional lighting that is easy to work with. However, if you are shooting in the middle of the day or in extremely or harshly lit environments and you have no way to block out the light or create your own bias light, you have two simple solutions:

  • Rotate the subject 180 degrees or shoot from the other side . In the example in the video above, we’re moving from shooting a portrait where harsh light hits the subject’s face and nose with harsh shadows on her face, to a much better look with bright highlights on her hair and softer shadows on her face.
  • Just go for the shadow, in which case you need to pay more attention to your background. Of course, going into the shade is an obvious option, and it can have a huge impact, because the decision to shoot in bright light is, well, yeah, get out of the light. However, if you do, you need to pay close attention to your background, as the same harsh reflections can hit your shot in this way, and lighting imbalances can make or ruin your final photo.

For more information on these tips – simple or not, depending on your level of photography experience – click Play on the video above or click on the link below.

Two Quick Tips for Overcoming Harsh Daylight Without Lighting | DIY Photography


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