Lesson 6 of 8
In Progress

Get Your Subject Out of Direct Sunlight!

Any professional photographer will tell you:

Great photography is all about light. Nothing affects your image more.

I’d love to talk your ear off for 2 hours about lighting tips!

But for now…tiny tips only.  So here’s the bottom line:

Get your subject out of the direct sunlight and into the shade.

You see, the bare sun is (very) hard light.  Shade is soft light. 

And soft light will usually dramatically improve the pics you take of your kids.  Here’s why:

  • Hard light has intense highlights, stark shadows, and a fast transition between the two. This edgy light must be used with care when photographing people. Its sharp contrast can make a fuss of things.
  • Soft light is smooth. Creamy highlights, ‘open’ shadows, and a gentle transition between the two. Soft light has a ‘wrap-around’ effect. It’s often the perfect light for photographing people, especially kids.

To show you what I mean, here’s a pic of Kerbi in the bare late afternoon sun.

Notice the stark shadows, bright highlights, and the literal lines created on her face (from shadow to highlight).

Now, here’s Kerbi just seconds later (and joined by a nearby Payson) but in the shade of the front porch:


The Best Shade

Not all shade is created equal. The best shade is called “open shade,” and it’s a place in the shade where your subject can see the sky.

When you place your subject in open shade, it’s the most beautiful, soft, glowing light around!

Learning the secrets of light deserves your time.  Everything changes for the better in your pics when you understand light! 

And we’re not talking about “flash” or “added lights.”  We’re talking only “available light.”  Meaning, where do you place your kid at any given time to make the best use of the light that’s already present (inside and outside)? 

When you understand exactly how to work with light, your pics will step into the big leagues. 

Warning: people will start asking you to take pics of their family (and pay you for it).

Okay, at the end of the day, just remember this one simple suggestion. It’s a game changer.