It’s [almost] every photographer’s worst nightmare: the smack dab middle of the day, bright sunshine, no clouds whatsoever to give you any kind of reprieve. Talk about harsh. Add in a snowy tundra or the beach and it quickly becomes a fate worse than death. (Ok, I might be exaggerating a bit, but you get the picture.)
“But I take my kids to the park during the day and I want to take pictures of them because they are just so darn cute!” you say. Of course you do, and of course you’d rather have any pictures than none, but what if you could take those pictures at midday with no clouds and still be able to see their faces? “Can I do that? Sweet. Tell me how,” you say. Alright, you’ve convinced me. It’s all about positioning. If you want to take pictures at midday (or really, any time of day past the first hour surrounding sunrise and last hour leading up to sunset), you need to get yourself and your kid in the right spot. It will probably be easier for you to move yourself, since your kid is going to be busy playing, most likely, so you’ll need to find where the light is and, counterintuitively, move yourself opposite to it, so that you are facing it. This does two things: it makes it so that your kid isn’t squinting when they look at you and it puts their ENTIRE face in shadow, which eliminates the harsh shadows being partially in the light creates. In the pictures below, Nelly is in the exact same position on the exact same day at around 1pm and, as you can see, zero clouds in the sky, but I went from standing with the sun behind me, to the sun in front of me. Both of these photos are straight out of camera (SOOC) – no editing whatsoever.
Another method is to try to get them in a spot with shade. Pay attention to where the light is falling on their faces, if you are below trees for shade. They tend to have spots of light, which will totally throw your camera off a lot of the time – that one spot will be way overexposed to compensate for the rest that is in shadow. Your camera can’t adjust its “eye” the way we can. It takes a measurement based off of your focal point and runs with it.
This photo was taken at the same time of day and on the same day as the two above in the shade of some trees, and is also SOOC – no editing.
I hope this post has helped you with taking better midday pictures! I know you can’t always control a situation, but paying attention to how the light is hitting your family and where it is located can do a whole lot for improving a photograph! Feel free to comment with some questions, or to ask for other tutorials!