Finding the light {Minneapolis MN Lifestyle Photographer}

There is just something about the summer sun that leaves me breathless.  In the winter I crave it, I dream about it.  In the summer I see it and I am just in awe.  You know, in the evening when you are sitting on the deck enjoying a cold one and you look down at your child and you see that amazing halo of light around their frizzy summer hair, and their skin is beautiful and warm and there is a slight haze in the air.  Ok, so maybe I sound a little crazy there but that's what I see and I feel fortunate that I have the eye to see it.  

Shooting in full sun is a scary thought for many, many people.  It was for me, that is for sure.  Then I learned to embrace it and I almost always prefer to shoot when the sun is shining.  While I love having my studio with fabulous natural light, it always leaves me wanting more in the cold winter months.  So when summer rolls around, I am pure heaven.  

The key to shooting in full sun is simple and can be done in 3 steps:  timing, manual mode and positioning of the subject (of course a little bravery should be expected too).  

Timing is everything.  You really can't get that yummy warm light in the middle of the day.  The sun is too high and will just cause your subject to squint and really illuminate their skin.  Shooting early morning or evening is best when the sun is low in the sky.  Evening is my favorite shooting time, you get beautiful shots like this:

And this:

In the evening you can get awesome sun flare too (you can't use a hood when trying to achieve this, it blocks the flare).

Positioning is probably more important than timing.  In full sun you need to be very aware about placing your subject properly.  I generally don't have my subjects facing the sun, even in the evening it can be pretty bright and harsh and I really don't prefer that.  I want a warm and soft shot.


You will need to place the subject with his/her back toward the sun, turned just slightly to the side so the sun can illuminate the face a bit.  

I also love to go for more silhoutted shots too.  This one I changed my exposure a bit and the subject became a bit darker and the colors became more rich.

This one I knew I wanted only the sillouttes so I once again adjusted my exposure so that their bodies were completely dark.  This creates a very dramatic shot with really vivid background colors.  I love it!

Finally, the most important thing you can do for yourself to learn how to shoot in the sun, is to turn  your camera to manual and learn, learn, learn.  The only way you can properly expose in full sun is to get your exposure right.  You need to have full control over all your settings.  I always set my ISO at 100 and my aperture around 2.0 then I play with my shutterspeed.  I like to overexpose just slightly but that is my preference.  You will have to play around and see what you like and how your camera reacts to the light.  

And lastly, don't be afraid of the haze!  It creates an image that will bring you straight back to that hot summer day for all eternity.  This shot was taken last summer and looking at it I still remember my kids in that very moment on that very day.  I remember how I felt when I got this shot and how happy I was to have created that moment in time.  It reminds me of happy times when all my kids are getting along.  A mother's dream!

Now get out there and shoot!  If you are completely lost, sign up for one of my workshops I would love to show you how to work that fancy camera of yours!  You can find the workshop link up at the top of my page!

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