I recently had the joy of being asked to do an old friend of mine’s senior portraits.
We went to Mary Moore Searight Metropolitan Park for our location, and for the best light, we started at 6:30pm and went ’til 8 (the end of sunset).
The Golden Hour (when the sunlight is soft, warm, and easy to work with) is roughly the hour before sunset, or the hour after sunrise. We started the shoot a little earlier than the Golden Hour, where soft light and shadows don’t happen so easily.
As for taking photos in harsh daylight, here are two ways to keep the light flattering for your subject: One is to have your subject facing away from the sun, while you face toward it. This can add a nice hair light, and give the photo an overall soft and dreamy mood, but your subject is backlit. So, you can lighten the shadows by positioning a reflector on the opposite side of your subject, bouncing the sunlight back into those deep shadows.
An example of that method:
And the result:
Another way of keeping sunny outdoor lighting flattering is to use a diffuser (or even a white bed sheet). To start, instead of the subject turned away from the sun, they turn toward it, and you are facing away from the sun. Now, so you can get nice soft shadows (and keep your subject from going blind 😉 ), put the diffuser between the sun and the subject, and there you go!
And the result:
And, since she’s friends with the photographer, 😉 we got some photos of us together!
Overall, being able to catch up with my friend while doing what I love all at once, made for a wonderful time.