Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Midday Light

Do you put your camera away from 10AM-2PM? Lighting too harsh? Many photographers never shoot at midday. It is true that if you are shooting landscapes and grand scenic vistas in full sun, this is not the best time of day to do it. Colors will be washed out, lighting will be harsh, shadows will be strong. Those scenes are best shot early in the morning, or later in the day, when the light is warm, lower and much softer. But you don’t have to put your camera away in the middle of the day, you just need to think about ways to work around the light, and maybe some different subject choices. There’s no such thing as bad light, you just need to look at it in new ways.

“Wherever there is light, one can photograph.” Alfred Stieglitz

Things to try:

Watch for a passing cloud and shoot while it blocks the sun.

Shoot macros, this is a great time to move in close, eliminate the sky and focus on details in areas that have the best light, and you can use a diffuser or even your own body to block the harsh light from your subject. I love to shoot flowers with a diffuser shading the flower only, letting the brighter light fill the background.

Work in the shade. Shoot in the woods, behind buildings, under trees, somewhere out of the sun. You can always use flash if you need to even out unwanted contrast extremes, or reflectors to add light to your subject.

Use the bright sun for backlighting. This is a great time of day for shooting backlit leaves in trees, especially during foliage season!

Look for reflections to shoot in bodies of water, puddles, windows...

An overcast day is great for shooting at midday, the overcast sky works as a giant diffuser, makes colors pop and there will be no harsh shadows anywhere!

All of the following images were shot at midday in the last few weeks: 

So, the next time you find yourself out with your camera at midday, consider trying some of these options to keep making photos. Work with what you have, make that midday light work for you!

Happy Shooting!