by Mary Denman
Last week, I started a series on the dynamics of lighting. I took pictures of the same iris throughout the day to show how much different it looked, depending on the lighting.
Since we can’t always take pictures during the prime times, I want to help you understand how to work around that when taking photos of people. Plants can’t move around, but people can!
Let’s get started.
Lighting in the middle of the day from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. is very difficult to work with and is sometimes called devil lighting.
This is a picture of one of my lovely daughters. I had her stand in direct sunlight at 11:30 a.m. to show you how harsh the lighting is. The sun is in front of her.
Look at the dark shadows that cross her face. Her eyes disappear. This is why mid-day lighting is tough to deal with.
How can you take a better picture under less than ideal conditions?
Move your subject! People can walk. Plants can’t!
I had my daughter walk to where the sun was behind her. But I stood in the same spot and simply turned to face her. (This shot was taken a couple of minutes after the first one.)
See how the sun highlights the top of her head. But there are no longer any stark shadows across her face. You can see her beautiful eyes.
What can you learn from this?
Tip 1: If you’re taking pictures during the harshest time of day, have your subject move until the sunlight doesn’t cast harsh shadows across her face. Get the sun behind your subject where it can highlight from behind.
That’s great, but is there something else can we learn about shooting during the worst time of day? Yes!
Head to a place where there are no shadows.
Here is a third shot of my delightful daughter. (Just a couple of minutes later.) This time, I took her picture where she was entirely in the shadows. This involved both of us heading for cover.
Again, see how this changes the photo?
Look at how even the lighting is on her face and hair. There are no bright spots, no shadows. The picture has a different feel to it.
So, what can we learn from this?
Tip 2: During the harshest time of day for lighting, head to the shadows! You can get really nice lighting without too much contrast.
Now that you can see the three examples, what do you think about them and which do you prefer and why?
I hope these tips help!
Keep on clicking!
As always, if you have any questions, or want me to see your shots, just leave me a comment below!
Dynamics of Lighting - Phototips for taking good people photos at the worst time of day (click here to tweet)