something i get asked a lot about is how to shoot in direct sunlight without a reflector or an extra light source. so i thought i'd put together a quick blog post with some image examples to give you ideas on how to position your model against the sun to achieve a certain look to your photos. i've noted the times in which the photos were taken, most of them range between 12pm - 6pm. between 12 and 2 is usually when australia has the harshest light of the day.

hopefully this blog post will inspire the thought that you


take beautiful photos in the middle of a sunny day, with nothing but natural light and your camera, and give you some ideas to try it too!


 shot at: 12.30pm

back-lit images are when the light source is behind your subject. by doing this, your photos will look dreamy and soft, this is one of my favourite ways of shooting! for a golden halo around your model, try diffusing the light behind some trees, a building or a cliff.

shot at: 3pm

 shot at: 1.30pm

direct sunlight

shot at: 4.30pm

when shooting in direct sunlight, position yourself to have your back to the sun, and the sun shining directly to the model's face. this lighting creates a more dramatic look to your photos. the shadows are deeper, the colours are more vibrant and the background is more prominent. 

shooting with direct sunlight at the beginning of the day produces more striking images, with more contrast as you can see from the two photos shot at 1 and 2 pm. the later in the day you shoot, the softer the light becomes as you can see in the photos taken at 4.30 and 6pm.

shot at: 1pm

shot at: 6pm

shot at: 2pm

in the shadows

shot at: 12pm

another option when shooting in the middle of a sunny day, is to shoot in the shadows of a building, fence or tree. the shadows will give your image a nice dark balance, with light still bouncing back onto your model's face from the bright day. 

shot at: 1.30pm

side light

shot at: 12pm

one last way i work with bright sunlight, is to use it as a side light. this gives you a little bit of both worlds; back-lit and direct light shooting! the images are halfway in between soft and dreamy as well as harsh and deep.

shot at: 11.40am

shot at: 5.30pm


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