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Do you love natural light portraiture? I do. And I know many others like me, who prefer working with natural light, not because they don’t know how to use studio lighting but because they simply like the look — and probably the freedom, too. One of the problems with natural light (in this case, the sun) is, of course, you can’t directly control it. This can be particularly troublesome when you’re forced to shoot during times when the sun is high in the sky and casting a harsh, unforgiving light. It’s far from ideal lighting, but there’s no reason to pack up your gear and call it a day — there are steps you can take to manage harsh sunlight and create portraits you and your model will be happy with.
Find The Best Angle
To kick things off, you’re just going to have to go for broke and do the unthinkable: place your model directly in the path of the glaring sun. It’s not going to be a great look initially, but things will begin to improve once you instruct your model to begin moving around so that the light wraps around their face in the best way possible. Tilting the chin this way, turning the head that way — small but discriminating movements can help reduce those hard midday shadows. Also, it’s natural for people to squint and scrunch up their face in bright conditions, so be sure to give your model a gentle reminder to put on their best expression before you hit the shutter button.