3 Tips For Photographing In Harsh Light

1. Embrace it.

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about shooting in harsh light.  The sun is out, the shade is non existent, and you have to photograph your subject here and now. The absolute best thing you can do is embrace the sun and make it work for you. The photo above is a perfect example of having to shoot in harsh light, and allowing it to work in my favor.   Also, communicating with your client that the photos are going to have more of a modern, bright feel is important.  Don’t let there be any surprises – and amp it up if you have to! Make it sound like the best thing ever, even if you’re freaking out inside ;) I promise, it’ll turn out beautifully. It’s all about perspective and taking your time to make your not-so-ideal situation work for you.

2. Play with shadows.

The image above is a great example of keeping the shadow behind the subject if you want to have a clear image of the subject without shadows being casted on their face.  But, if you want to get creative and have some fun with it, let the shadows create some dimension and interest to your frame.  Here is an example:

See? She has shadows across her face, but it doesn’t make the image look lower quality, nor is it distracting. It adds to the story, and gives the photo a bit more dimension.

3. Use a reflector.

I say this a little unwillingly, but understand that not everyone shoots as minimally as I do. I don’t believe in fill-flash, nor do I use a reflector (I’d rather find natural reflectors – I’m 100% a natural light photographer, haha) But, if you wish to use a reflector, you will need to hire someone to come along with you on the shoot since you only have 2 hands – both of which require holding on to the camera ;) This is a great brand.



1. Set your clients up to understand what you’re looking for.

Before every shoot, I make sure that my clients understand my style of shooting.  I set it up as 75% movement, 25% still shots.  Once we’ve started the session, they’re aware of what I’m looking for from them, and don’t anticipate standing around too much – waiting for direction.  They’re relaxed and far less tense than if they were standing still.

2. Play music.

Having music playing during my sessions is key. Not only are you way more likely to have spontaneous dance parties commence (the best), but just as I stated above, it helps to relax the clients ten-fold.

3. Keep them reassured.

More often than not, the ladies who are being photographed are incredibly worried about their hair blowing in the wind or their dress making too much fuss.  I make sure to reassure them throughout the entirety of the shoot, letting them know that their hair blowing in the wind is actually quite magical. And their dress blowing in four different directions is adding so much life to the still image.  Keep them confident by giving them the truth.