Using the sun as a hard light source

We all know the sun, it’s that big bright thing in the sky.
It’s almost always there but still a lot of people are afraid of it to use it into their photography.
We all know the expression that you should shoot during certain time periods because otherwise the sun is not “nice” for the final shot. Well I agree with this in certain situations however with model photography I have to say that I love to shoot with real harsh light.


Today I share some images from Marie that were shot with just the sun as the light source, as you can see the shadows are really adding to the shot.
The difference between the two sets is that in one set I metered for the face and in the other set I metered towards in between the model and the sun, this creates two different looks from the same situation as you can see. You can of course also later do this in Lightroom or Photoshop but I strongly believe that you can better create it right on the set.


Anyway for today a tip that you should not be afraid for shooting in the bright harsh sunlight.
But make sure that you watch the shadow “play” it should really add something to the shot.


Marie November 21 2013-10-Edit

Marie November 21 2013-13-Edit

Marie November 21 2013-33-Edit

Marie November 21 2013-40-Edit


2 replies
  1. Johan Schmidt
    Johan Schmidt says:

    Beautiful as always Frank. Don’t quite understand the “in the other set I metered towards in between the model and the sun” – could you explain a bit more please and indicate which images are done with which lighting – e.g. first two with reading on face. Thanks

    • Frank Doorhof
      Frank Doorhof says:

      You can meter towards the camera and expose for the correct face in this case (metering the ambient) or meter towards the sun (behind the model) and make sure the hairs don’t blow out, but the face will be darker. Inside the studio (and normally) you always meter towards the light source. Expect when you are mixing sun with ambient, I see those as two different light sources.

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