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Tips & Tricks

Laws of Light: Shooting in Direct Sun

By Jay P Morgan on June 20th 2018

Shooting in direct sun can present a number of challenges for a photographer as direct sunlight creates harsh shadows, a lot of contrast that highlights imperfections, and creates hotspots. All of that is a recipe for images of people that are not flattering.

Of course you could avoid the areas you actually want to shoot in and seek out shade, but that’s also not preferable and that means you’re much more limited on what and where you can shoot. There are, however, ways around it, and in this video I’ll show you how to shoot where you want, unrestricted from the need to find shade, by creating the right lighting solutions anywhere you are.

There are various solutions and set-ups that you can use to control the harsh sun, and they can be done using either reflectors, strobes, silks, or some combination of the three.

If you like to move around with minimal gear you can learn to use the sun as a key light and bounce fill back into your subject for an open look with a simple reflector, or you can use a scrim like a Sunbounce Sun-Swatter for a softbox-like look in the open sun, or use a strobe to overpower it. The options are there and you don’t need much to take great images in harsh sunlight.

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Sunbounce Sun Swatter Big Super Saver Starter Kit

Sunbounce Sun-Bouncer Pro Reflector Kit with Silver/White Screen

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Jay P. Morgan has been working as a Commercial Photographer and Film Director in the Los Angeles area for more than 20 years developing an impressive list of clients from Paramount to McDonald’s. Jay P.’s experience with elaborate set design and extensive lighting are key to the success of his illustrative work.

Check out his work on The Slanted Lens: or

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