The Awesome Light Hiding Outside

In our last video we talked about window light, and how it’s this amazing light that’s all around your home! Sweet!

But as cool as window light is, you might not get to use it very often. If you shoot weddings or portraits, you’ll probably find yourself outside a lot of the time. And outdoor light can be tricky.

See, when the sun is super bright you have to be careful. If you face your subjects towards the sun, you’re going to end up with direct light, some of the most unflattering light possible! Yikes!

But don’t worry. There is awesome light hiding outside too!

It’s called shade. 

Yep, it’s as easy as that. Shoot in the shade, and you’re going to find some really fantastic light. Now check out the video for all the details on how to use shade!

Tips For Awesome Shade Shooting

  • Use your eyes. Is this shade flattering? Adjust until you like it!
  • Shoot manual. With shade, and manual camera settings, you will barely have to think about your camera and your lighting, and get to focus totally on your subjects
  • Face your subjects out of the shade. This brings more light onto their face and into their eyes, which is super important
  • Unless it is high noon, there will always be one side of a building in shade, so it’s all around you! Fences, houses, cars, and even people can also be great sources of shade

Different Types of Lighting To Try With Shade

  • Place your subject fully into the shade for super consistent and easy light
  • Place your subject just at the edge of the shade for a “natural” hairlight, and nifty seperation
  • Experiment with facing your subject different directions in the shade, and placing your subject different distances into the shade

And If There Isn’t Shade?

So what happens if you are in the middle of a field, the sun is high in the sky, and there is no shade to be found?

Well, you place the sun behind your subject, and focus on their faces. You’ll still have nice light—they won’t be squinty or have harsh shadows on their faces! The downside? Your background is going to “blow out” or go completely white because there is just too much light behind them for the camera to handle.

But in the end, if you’re shooting people, the most important part of the image is their expression, not the sky behind them. If you want to use natural light only, that’s the compromise you have to make!

Do you like shooting in the shade? Have any tips to share? Comment below!

Lauren Lim

Hey friend, I’m Lauren! I’m a photography ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I’m downright obsessed with photography, and love sharing it with super cool folks like yourself. When I’m not shooting, or writing, you can find me cooking (and eating!), traveling, and hanging out with wonderful people.

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3 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. This was really helpful, thanks Lauren! :) Good tip about looking at the eyes. Also, loved the tip about stepping just out of the shade. Thanks!

  2. Lindsay Detrick says:

    Advice: If you’re shooting in direct sunlight with no shade, keep the sun behind your clients (as stated above) and use a reflector infront of them. This way you can adjust your lens and you wont have your background blown out so much. :)

  3. Love the Advice…!!! =D

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