The key to successful to outdoor portraits is understanding the light. Most people think that you will get brilliant results when the sun is out. Wrong! The fact is the midday sun casts ugly black shadows all over the face. Notice the lack of detail in the eyes. It is a hard and unforgiving light.
If you do have to capture portraits on a sunny day, head for the shade of a large building or similar, where you can find a bright and shady spot where the light is even.
A good place will be at the edge where the light meets the shadow. Look for a light and even shady area with a bright quality to it.
Place you subject in a spot where the eyes look the clearest and with the most reflection.
A cloudy or overcast day is the easiest light to create a portrait.
The portrait below was taken around 7 pm in the evening .
At this time
the sun is low on the horizon. I positioned the person with her head in front of the evening sun to create a rim lighting around the head.
Another way to get around the sun effect is to use your flash to blast away some of the shadows. This is used to great effect by many professional photographers and called “fill in flash”, but it does have a bright slightly unnatural look.
The most gorgeous results from sunshine portraits is to catch the golden light in the first two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset. At this time the sun is low on the horizon casting a beautiful golden light over he subject minus the harsh shadow that you get during the day. Many fashion photographers and film crews on location will start filming at this time.
Project : See how many different kinds of lighting you can document over the next few weeks .