Contact Us

Have questions?  Use this form to contact us.

We will respond to you as soon as possible.

Thank You,

Gary Detonnancourt

Harrisville, RI 02830
United States

More Than A Snapshot provides online photography education.

How to Shoot Portraits in Harsh Mid Day Light


This is the blog for More Than A Snapshot's Online Photography Classes.  In these blog posts I will give photography tips, tutorials, and show images.

How to Shoot Portraits in Harsh Mid Day Light

Gary Detonnancourt

In the middle of the afternoon, the light for photography can be challenging because it produces very harsh specular highlights and deep shadows.  For example, the image below was taken in full sun.

Harsh Mid Day Sunlight

To help solve this problem you could move your subject in to some open shade, for an image like the one below.  The light is softer and more flattering but lacks a little punch.  Also there is no light in here eyes.

This image was shot in open shade, under some overhanging tree limbs.

Another technique we can try is to use some diffusion material to soften the direct sunlight.  You can see in the image below how the diffusion panel softens the light and adds a small catch light in the corner of her eyes.

This image was shot in direct sunlight with a diffusion panel to camera left to soften the harsh light.

In the final image, I will continue using the diffusion panel to camera left, and I will add a reflector to camera right to bounce some sunlight back on to the subject.  Notice the extra catch light in here eyes.

This image was taken in harsh light with a diffusion panel and a reflector.

In my opinion, image 3 and 4 produced the best results.  This technique for controlling light can be used for many types of subjects, not just portraits.  For example this would also work well for shooting flowers.  Post in the comments below if you can think of any other uses for a diffusion panel and reflector setup.  Please give this a try and let me know what you think of the results.