Tag Archive for: sun

Tip: Get that sun

One of the things I always love to do is shoot the sun in the frame.

Sometimes just somewhere in the frame. But often I get more satisfaction by placing it for example just behind the model and letting it just shine through creating some cool effects.

Of course you can do the same with strobes.

Feel free to share your favorite sun in the frame images.

TIP : don’t fear the sun

A lot of people are somehow afraid to shoot straight into the sun….
Well I agree that there is a lot of talk online that it can fry your sensor but in all honesty if that was really true….well my sensors would have all been fried, just be smart and don’t look at the sun too long and keep the exposure time to your sensor limited, because… well it is a lot of light that is aimed at your sensor via a lens so don’t keep it on a tripod for an hour (just saying).

As soon as you overcome that “fear” of shooting into the sun a lot of cool options open up.
The shot you see in the opening post was done during a workshop with my DxO one connected to my iPhone, I choose a low angle because of the background (our studio).

So you do you meter something like this.
Here it’s important to understand the dynamic range of your camera a bit.
Especially knowing how much you can get back from both the highlights and shadows.
Always make sure you get enough detail in your models face, so don’t underexpose too much, but also don’t expose correctly for the model… and there are 2 reasons for this.


  1. If you expose your model correctly the background will be almost pure white due to the high brightness of the sun/sky. Also the model will look glued on the background, so always make sure the model is slightly underexposed which will make the shot look much more natural. This same tips also goes for sunsets, always make sure you underexpose your model slightly when using strobes (and light from the side) this way the model looks more natural in the scene.
  2. If you underexpose your model to the “max” of your dynamic range you can still raise the shadows/midtones in your RAW convertor enough to get the detail/exposure on your model that you want, the extra advantage is that with the highlights slider you can lower the brightness of the sky a lot more simply because it’s still in your dynamic range.


Planning a shot and knowing the limits of your gear is incredibly important when you like to be on the edge of lighting.
In most cases I’ll shoot as perfect as possible in camera, but when you know there is a lot of backlighting and you don’t use a reflector or strobe (like in this case) it’s always good to know these limits because now you know how much you can underexpose to “save” as much as possible from the sky, and actually almost mimic the use of a reflector or strobe.

Now don’t be afraid of noise/grain in you’ll probably shoot these kind of shots on ISO100 and often you will open up a max of 2-3 stops so in essence you’re shooting on 400-800 max for the model and with modern day cameras that is no problem at all.

So the next time you’re shooting on location try a few shots with just this technique (so no strobes or reflectors) you’ll see what your camera can do, plus it will help you in situations where you have no choice….


Want more in depth tips and techniques?
Check out my book “Mastering the model shoot” or one of the many instructional videos via this site (see the menu on the left).


The best locations and the best light…. are what you do….

We all know that a good shot consists of good lighting and a great location right?
However that doesn’t mean you have to travel for that great shot, actually the best shots can be right around the corner. The main problem is that we see the locations close to us way to often to actually register as something that could be interesting for a photoshoot. If we would see them just once they might seem much more interesting than they do in every day life.


When we changed locations for our studio I clearly told everyone that the area behind the studio (out of sight) could not be changed and I wanted to let “nature” just run it’s course, if we have something old and “rustic” we don’t throw it out, we store it there and just place it somewhere where we can use it as a location to shoot, we even have a sea container there to use.


The next shots were all done in a very fast outside session with just the sun as light source.
Editing is very minimal with just some tinting and a little bit of MacPhun Intensify.


So the next time you are looking for a location… make sure to also check your local area, and house area. And when you own a studio building…. why not make a “mess” outside (as long as people don’t see it from the road). Also remember that the sun will actually be a great light source with great contrast, if it’s a bit too harsh you can always use some diffusion material between the model and the sun, but in all honestly I often just shoot it as is, I just love those hard shadows and popping colors.


Model/Styling : Nadine

Nadine Juni 12 buiten 2015   0010

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Tip about shooting high-contrast on the street

Often photographers will try to find the light behind the photographer to get some light on the subjects. However one of the most interesting things that I love to do is finding that high contrast situation where you are actually shooting straight into the sun.

You can of course use objects to block the sun, or let it just “creep through”. So the next time you’re shooting on the street, don’t be afraid to shoot straight into the sun, or include it in the frame, I think you will be surprised 😀


I always love to include people to get some cool silhouette effects.

Augustus 27 2014 NY  (98 of 222)_DxO

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