So, you may have heard that golden hour is always the best time to shoot but....not necessarily!
Listen, I love shooting during golden hour just as much as the next photographer. I'm not knocking golden hour at all! The soft golden light is absolutely gorgeous and dreamy. Its tough to beat a beautiful backlit golden hour photo! However, we're not always able to schedule a session during the evening or early morning for various reasons. In fact, some times the golden hour look may even hinder your photos if you're going for a more dramatic, high contrast look. Oh, and in case you're wondering, golden hour is the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. Phew, I'm glad we got that straightened out! Anyway, in this post, we'll explore some other times of day that are just as great for a natural light portrait session as golden hour and how to get those jaw-dropping photos that you're looking for even without that soft golden light so many of us seek out in our work.
Mid-day is when the sun is right in the middle of the sky. When the sun is at this position, it casts a harsh shadow over the eyes so that it causes the very unflattering and dreaded "racoon eyes" effect. You may have tried to take a selfie at mid-day only to find that the photos didn't turn out so well. In case you were wondering why, the main reason for this is the harsh shadows caused by the high sun position in the sky. This is exacerbated for those of us who live in San Marcos, Texas where sunshine is abundant and plentiful and it's hard to escape from! Fortunately, there are many easy ways to fix this. Keep reading below to find out more!!!
SHOOT IN THE SHADE
Since harsh sunlight and shadows are the biggest challenge to getting flattering portraits in mid-day sun, one of the easiest ways to combat this is to find some shade! There are many photography spots located around San Marcos, Texas that provide shade! The shade will do several amazing things. First, it'll provide a cover and block out the harsh sunlight. Next, it'll cool things down especially if it's hot out. Also, depending on the type of shade (under trees, a porch, canopy, or overhang) the light will be diffused and become soft, eliminating those unflattering shadows! The other advantage of shooting in the shade is if there is a nearby reflective surface, we can get a beautiful bounce light reflecting back and illuminating your face!
USE A SCRIM, FILL FLASH, OR REFLECTOR
Did you know that even if it's mid-day with the sun high in the sky, you can still shoot directly in the sun! Not many people realize this. The trick is to use a scrim, fill flash, or reflector. Let's go over each one of these powerful tools.
Scrim: A scrim is basically a screen consisting of a cloth or other material used to diffuse the sunlight. This gets placed between the sun and the subject so that the light gets filtered and softened as it passes through the scrim. It will seriously look like it was shot in the shade!
Fill flash or off-camera flash: Flash is probably the best way to ameliorate the harsh sunlight, especially when using a powerful enough flash. This can be creatively placed around the subject in different ways to obtain a variety of results! The light from the flash will fill any shadows occurring on a model's face due to the harsh light.
Reflector: A very basic and affordable tool which every photographer or should have is a reflector. A reflector is exactly what it sounds like, it is a frame covered in a reflective white or silver material which will be used to bounce light back into a subject's face and fill in those tough shadows!
SHOOT WITH THE SUN BEHIND YOU!!!
Another way to use the harsh sunlight to your advantage is to stand with the sun behind you! This will create a beautiful glow effect and add a rim light to the hair and body to complement the pose. But, the best part is that it will block out any unflattering shadows!
Now you can be confident knowing that even if your portrait session isn't scheduled during golden hour, we can still get stunning portraits that will capture your unforgettable moments forever! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!