If you have to shoot in bright, harsh, overhead light, your best bet is to either just move to the shade (in which case you have more to think about, more on that in a moment), or turn your subject 180 degrees. These tips may seem obvious, but the utility is in the nuance.
In this video, David Bergman explains that in general, the best times to photograph just about anything is either right after sunrise or just before sunset, since the low sun in the sky creates warm, directional lighting that’s easy to work with. However, if you’re shooting in the middle of the day, or in an extremely or harshly lit environment, and you don’t have the option to block out the lights or create your own offsetting light, you have two simple fixes:
- Turn your subject 180 degrees, or shoot from the other side. In the example in the video above, we go from shooting a portrait where harsh light falls right on the subject’s face and nose with stark shadows across her face to a much better look with bright light on her hair and softer shadows on her face.
- Just move to the shade, in which case you need to pay more attention to your background. Sure, moving to the shade is the obvious option, and it can have a huge impact, because the solution to shooting in bright light is to, well, duh — get out of the light. However, if you do that, you need to pay close attention to your background, since those same harsh reflections may make their way into your shot that way, and the lighting imbalance can make or break your final photo.
For more on these tips — simple or not, depending on your level of photography experience — hit play on the video above, or hit the link below.
Two Quick Tips to Overcome Harsh Daylight Without Lighting Tools [DIY Photography]