Life is always happening and a lot of the fun stuff we are doing especially in the summer if not during golden hour is in the middle of the day. I like the soft dreaminess of golden hour much more but learning to embrace midday light gives a sense of freedom . Anytime I’m shooting I quickly asses the scene and by now I know my yard pretty well. In the middle of the day when my kids are having fun theres not a lot that I can rely on to filter light also the light is bouncing everywhere creating brighter colors and more prominent shadows .
The brighter light the deeper the shadows and its something I just have to embrace the light optimistically and use it artistically if I want the freedom to create and capture life in the most convenient times. Hard light doesn’t have to be complicated
When shooting in this type of light, you definitely need to embrace the harshness and the shadows that may come hand in hand while shooting . In fact, you will likely find looking for interesting shadows more so than the light itself. Bright midday light has the ability to create a happy and colorful images leaving your viewer feeling the same way, utilizing deeper shadows to light ratio can have a moody deeper effect.
Afternoon light is fun
I love experimenting with different things to add a twist of creativity in camera. It can always be done by adding overlays in post but I guess I like the fact of exploring what I create in camera . This shot is freelensed but if you dont feel comfortable subjecting your equipment to water danger you can try a ziplock baggy and come up with a similiar effect. Cut the end off the bag and dip the ends in water or bubble solution , carefully place bag around lens like a sleeve and let the light interact. You will likely get a prismatic effect .
I intentionally incorporate vivid colors into my afternoon shooting. This means purchasing fun stuff in colors that I feel with play a key aspect on the overall aesthetic of my image. It connects the loud and playful ambiance I intend to emphasize in my final vision and honestly the kids are not complaining!
When shooting in this type of light, you definitely need to embrace the harshness and the shadows. In fact, you will likely find looking for interesting shadows more so than the light itself. Bright midday light has the ability to create a happy and colorful images leaving your viewer feeling the same way utilizing deeper shadows to light ratio can have a playful effect
Observe where your shadows fall in any light but I guess I’d say special attention in harsh light allowing the shadows to be intentional
Assessing your environment quickly can really make an impact on the direction of how you will approach any light situation. Just as golden hour light intermingles with the environmental elements , so does harsh mid day light. The good news is that over time analyzing the light situation will come quickly and more instinctual. You can walk into any situation and start asking yourself questions that lead to solutions. When I arrived at this location I had never had the opportunity to shoot there before and in fact it was an impromptu stop on our family vacation . I quickly broke down what the light was doing . It was high , clouds were scattered, it was reflecting . The light allowed for a playful situation and the reflecting elements of the sand help with front lighting my subjects face as if it was a gigantic softbox . I kept a mindful eye on the clouds waiting to the moment where I could incorporate this into the same scene but adding diversity in my captures within the same light situation. Paying attention to my highlights is what I found most important and I most often dial my settings in to F1.8 , SS 1/2500, ISO100. It can be done the other way around using a higher aperture /lower exposure to emphasize texture and details. At the National box box below there was not enough natural shadow to emphasize depth and textures. Assessing the situation , there were not any factors to persuade my decision making otherwise. I like dreamy shallow depth of field for my everyday shots so I set my aperture and control the light with angles and my shutter speed.
In any light situation even one as long lasting and constant as a bright and often often harsh as midday light you have to stay mindful and open to change. Natural light often changes and understanding how it will ultimately affect your image and being intentional and making deliberate choices you can begin to master it. Consciously break down the light and atmosphere and how it ultimately will affect your captured memories full of fun and adventure .