The midday sun isn’t really photographers’ favorite time to shoot portraits. But, sometimes you’ll be forced to do it, for one reason or another. Photographer Kayleigh June says a lot of her portrait shoots take place at this time of day. So, she shares five helpful tips to make the best out of the unfriendly midday sun.
1. Keep the lighting even
When the sunlight is really harsh, it can create some really unflattering shadows on the model’s face. So, try facing them towards the sunlight, especially their face. Avoid having the sun directly above the model’s face, as it would make them look really strange, and it’s difficult to edit these shadows out.
2. Use a reflector
A reflector is a great way to lighten up the shadows without using artificial lighting. Kayleigh points out it works best for her with the backlit images, and it helps to fill in the darker side of the model’s face.
3. Create your own shade
When the sun’s harsh, you can sometimes move into the shade. But when the sun’s high up in the sky, there will be not many shaded areas around. So, create your own shade by holding a reflector or a similar object above the model’s head.
4. Underexpose the photos and shoot in RAW
When the sunlight is harsh, the details in the highlights can get blown out easily. So, underexposed your images a bit to keep the details in the highlights, and you can retrieve the details in the shadows in post. Shooting in RAW will help you here.
5. Count the model in
If you’re facing the model towards the sun, it can be harsh on their eyes. So, let the model keep the eyes closed, give them a signal when to open them for the shot, and then let the model close their eyes again. This will make it less inconvenient for them, and it will help them control the facial expressions.